TUESDAY: August 24, 2021: HE was a $5000 “cheapie” and won at $201 on his home track at only his second start.
He has since won a further five races; the latest at Bathurst yesterday when he relished the soft conditions to outclass his rivals in a Benchmark 58 Handicap (2000m).
Little wonder Hawkesbury trainer Karen Outtrim cherishes the day she purchased Dragon’s Shadow with a single bid at the 2016 Inglis Ready2Race sale.
“I had previously bought a number of horses from Think Big Stud (where Dragon’s Shadow’s sire Pendragon then stood), and they recommended this horse to me as a nice cheapie because he was a bit underdone but went okay,” Outtrim explained this morning.
“No one else wanted him, and I got him with the only bid I had to make.
“Dragon’s Shadow has been a wonderful horse to the stable. I’ve never had a horse before who has won six races, and hopefully it isn’t over yet.”
Outtrim had special commendation for Dragon’s Shadow’s rider, leading country jockey Mathew Cahill.
“Mathew has ridden Dragon’s Shadow in the last four of his six wins. He is very professional and said before yesterday’s race he expected him to be hard to beat.
“He is such a good jockey he makes his own luck.
“The rain arrived at Bathurst at the right time as Dragon’s Shadow loves those conditions.”
He has now won twice (and been placed three times) on soft ground, and is also a heavy track winner.
Once Cahill got Dragon’s Shadow ($4.20 joint favorite) away from the fence and around the leader, $31 roughie Eye Will, on straightening and into the clear, the seven-year-old gelding quickly put the issue beyond doubt.
He bolted away to score by nearly five lengths from Eye Will, with the other co-favorite Taliano third.
Dragon’s Shadow has pulled up well, and his trainer is eyeing a Benchmark 66 Handicap (2000m) at Moruya next Tuesday as his next assignment.
Outtrim admits she didn’t expect Dragon’s Shadow to win when he did exactly that at huge odds for apprentice Brock Ryan in a 1500m Maiden Handicap at Hawkesbury on August 3, 2017 as an early three-year-old.
“He was beaten 12 lengths at his first start at Hawkesbury a few weeks earlier, and I put blinkers on him after that,” Outtrim said.
“Dragon’s Shadow’s trackwork rider at the time said he worked well in the blinkers, and he led throughout, perhaps on fear, when he won that Maiden.
“But he certainly surprised me all the same.
. Outtrim, who never has a big team, is the busiest she has ever been. “I’ve got five horses in work, including two who are so far unraced,” she said.
. Dragon’s Shadow’s sire Pendragon was trained by the legendary “Cups King” Bart Cummings and won the 2005 Group 3 Gloaming Stakes (1800m) at Rosehill Gardens, whilst his dam, the Carnegie mare Northbourne Avenue, who died two years ago, was retired to stud as a winless two-start maiden.
She lost her first two foals (both fillies), who died after birth, and Dragon’s Shadow was her fifth foal.