Kiwi stayer Dragon Storm came from last to land the Listed Sandown Cup (3200m) at the Caulfield meeting on Saturday under a well-timed Blaike McDougall ride.
The son of Shocking had won last season’s Gr.3 New Zealand Cup for Chris Gibbs and transferred to Mike Moroney’s Flemington stable after an unplaced effort in the Gr.3 Wellington Cup (3200m).
The seven-year-old gelding’s three runs leading into Saturday’s triumph had been less than inspiring, with Moroney resorting to training the stayer over hurdles in the lead-up to the A$160,000 contest.
In a slowly run affair, Dragon Storm got cover and was rated well by McDougall, coming widest to get the better of the favourite True Marvel on the line.
“I saw him (Dragon Storm) going easily but not getting any luck at all and then when he switched to the outer it was a good effort, really,” Moroney said.
“The owners, after today if he didn’t do anything, were going to take him back to New Zealand but on that now they may stay here and have a crack at something like the Bagot (Listed, 2800m on New Year’s Day at Flemington).”
Dragon Strom has now won six of his 29 starts and over $300,000 in prizemoney.
“He’s proven at the trip obviously in New Zealand. He pulled a bit going to the gates,” McDougall said.
“I was given an open book which is great by Mike and I put him to sleep off a very moderate tempo.
“I nearly left my run a bit too late. I did have every intention to follow True Marvel and make a sustained run from the half-mile.
“I changed my mind and decided to ride a bit of a race on him and we got there on the line.”
By Gr.1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) winner Shocking out of dual Gr.1 Auckland Cup (3200m) winner Prize Lady, Dragon Storm is certainly bred to stay.
The galloper is raced by a New Zealand syndicate of local Chinese owners, headed by Alan Fu, who went to $150,000 to secure Dragon Storm as a two-year-old at the NZB Ready To Run Sale from the draft of Mana Park. – NZ Racing Desk