Dragonstone breathes fire in the Starlight Stakes

It isn’t quite an Everest, but Sam Clipperton and Joe Pride have combined to plunder another feature sprint, teaming up to snare the Listed Starlight Stakes (1100m) with Dragonstone.

The horse tackled Saturday’s race on a seven-day back after finishing fourth in The Warra (1000m) at Kembla Grange and while Clipperton didn’t ride him there, he was happy to be in the saddle at Rosehill on Saturday.

“Gee, he sprinted off a twenty-cent piece,” said Clipperton, who won The Everest aboard the Pride-trained Think About It during the spring.

“He’s developed a bit of a pattern of getting back and running on and sometimes giving away too much start. He jumped really well today, I had a little look to see if something would open up and I just had to take my medicine and ride him quite.

“But I must say, he travelled well even though they were strung out.”

The way Dragonstone felt in the run might have given Clipperton confidence, but even he was surprised by his turn of foot.

Leader Malkovich had skipped to a handy lead but Dragonstone ($3.70 bookmakers fav) unleashed down the outside to score by a half-length with Meritable ($101) bobbing through late to grab second, Malkovich ($4) the same margin away third.

“I was confident to ride a patient race on him, get around the corner and just hope the leaders came back to me,” Clipperton said.

“I didn’t need them to come back to me much though, because he really let rip.

“Obviously he thrived off the seven-day back up from last week and Joe is a master at doing that.

“A very satisfying win on a very honest horse.”

With Pride overseas, racing manager Orla Pearl was unsure of plans for Dragonstone and said the Starlight Stakes hadn’t originally been on the sprinter’s agenda.

“No, I don’t think so anyway,” Pearl said.

“We were pretty confident going into last week’s race, then he didn’t have that tough of a run and the way he came through it, Joe was confident he was going to be able to back him up today.

“He needed to get a win under his belt to see if we continued on.”

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