Tough as steel with gutsy win

Maid Of Steel (Danielle Johnson) beating an equally brave Stradivarius at Ellerslie yesterday.

Maid Of Steel (Danielle Johnson) beating an equally brave Stradivarius at Ellerslie yesterday.

Maid Of Steel lived up to her name with the fight she showed at Ellerslie yesterday.

She looked made of steel the way she out-toughed her rivals to win the Living Magazine 1600 in the hands of Danielle Johnson.

With the Lee Somervell-trained Stradivarius tearing off to a huge lead, Maid Of Steel headed the pack chasing him and was the only one to get past him in the home straight, going on to win by three-quarters of a length.

“She did all the donkey work,” said trainer Tony Pike. “She’s a tough, good mare and she did well to out-tough them.

“I thought there would be a solid tempo and I said to Danielle to hand it up to Stradivarius. She’s very honest and a brave mare who deserves any success she gets.”

Stradivarius, ridden by Emily Farr, had the field stretched out when eight lengths clear at the 1000 metres and was still six lengths clear 400 metres later. Maid Of Steel then ranged up early in the run home and looked set for a comfortable win, but Stradivarius found a new lease of life once she came up alongside and rallied bravely right to the line.

Mountain Jack, prepared by Robyn and Russell Rogers, completed a Cambridge trifecta when finishing third, a half-length behind Stradivarius.

The win was the sixth for Maid Of Steel, a Guillotine five-year-old mare raced by her Cambridge breeders, John and Shirley Goodman.

She completed a double, having won her lead-up race at Pukekohe on November 19, and has been a model of consistency this campaign with four placings from as many outings preceding that fifth win.

“We’ll look for a nice open mile for her now,” said Pike.