The Ray Long-trained two-year-old, Steel Dragon, blew away the darling of this season’s QTIS 600 on Monday, March 8, 2010.
Robert Bradshaw’s two-year-old filly Tough Luck has been well advertised as the success story of the QTIS 600 Sales, however in the $150,000 Harvey Norman QTIS 600 2YO Plate 1200m at Townsville she was no match for the mighty northern gelding Steel Dragon.
Long’s Hidden Dragon gelding looks set for a South-East Queensland campaign after racing midfield until the Cluden Park straight where jockey Peter Cullen let him down to impressively leave the competition in his wake.
“We expected it,” said excited owner Graham Nicolls. “The jockey’s been telling us that he hasn’t let her go yet, and the trackwork rider has said the same.
“We didn’t feel that we had to beat them, they had to beat us, and when he let him go it was all over.”
Steel Dragon, who now boasts four wins from as many starts, has earned connections $163,800 in career prizemoney, which includes $42,000 in QTIS 600 added stakes.
The two-year-old gelding posted an easy two length win to Tough Luck, who made the trip from her Sunshine Coast-based stables.
She was positioned nicely at the turn by jockey Justin Stanley, however was swamped by the rear attack and pure speed from Steel Dragon.
Rocket On By, ridden by David Simmons for John Manzelmann, finished nicely in third by one and a half lengths after trailing the field by a couple of lengths from the jump.
However, the feature event and $96,000 first place cheque belonged to Steel Dragon.
After the victory at Townsville, Long and Nicolls will aim the two-year-old at the $250,000 Gold Coast leg of the lucrative QTIS 600 Race Series on Saturday, March 20.
This has worked out perfectly for Nicolls, as he intended to be present at the 2010 QTIS 600 Magic Millions Yearling Sales which follows the raceday on March 21 and 22.
“We’re coming to the Gold Coast for March 20,” Nicolls said. “Then we’ll probably spell him after that.
“Weight’s going to stop him in the country, so he’s got to go to the city.
“I’ll be down for the (QTIS 600) Sales. I’ve already got a horse selected. I usually select the horse before I go.”
Steel Dragon was purchased for $22,000 at the 2009 Magic Millions Sales in January.