Pat Duff is using different skills learned over decades of training to get grey-coloured sprinters Steel Zip and Abu Ben Adam to the rich Magic Millions day at the Gold Coast.
Steel Zip and Abu Ben Adam will take their next step to the Magic Millions day on January 9 when they tackle Saturday’s Listed Lough Neagh Stakes (1350m) at Doomben.
The pair are at different ends of the betting market and also are being treated differently by their experienced trainer.
Duff has nursed eight-year-old Steel Zip to four wins from his past five starts and has used kid gloves since the veteran won the Listed Keith Noud Quality (1200m) at Doomben on November 14.
He elected to trial Steel Zip at Deagon last week rather than run him in the Group Three George Moore (1200m) at Doomben two weeks ago.
“I felt they might have been a bit sharp for him at the 1200 metres in the George Moore and that is how it turned out,” Duff said.
Steel Zip ran fifth in the barrier trial behind Tony Gollan’s smart sprinter Whiskey Allround and the effort pleased Duff.
“The trial topped him off nicely,” Duff said.
“I think booking Jeff Lloyd for him has been the key to him racing so well this campaign. Jeff is at him the whole time to keep his mind on the job.”
After Saturday, Steel Zip is likely to go straight into the $1 million Magic Millions Cup.
Meanwhile, Abu Ben Adam is the outsider in the Lough Neagh field but Duff has put the work into him and is expecting a better run than his unplaced first-up effort.
“He is a horse which builds into a campaign but this time I trialled him twice before his first-up run when the pattern of the day’s racing didn’t suit him,” he said.
“He is eligible for a couple of races on Millions day but he will have to show us something as well as earning more prize money before we decide which way to go.”
Article from JustHorseRacing.com.au