Dragon Pins turned in another eye-catching performance in the Class Four Kokura Handicap (1,650m) at Happy Valley on Wednesday night and indicated he was ready to salute when stepping up in distance.
The four-year-old was well prepared in New Zealand by Graeme and Mark Sanders with six trials and was given five well-educated jump-outs under Almond Lee prior to his first outing.
He was set a hard task first-up over the same course and distance and, despite laying in early in the straight, finished off nicely to be fourth behind Diligent III at 32-1 odds.
This time, Dragon Pins settled one off the fence and fourth from the rear after jumping from gate six, was forced out by Eastern Empire at the 500m, rounded the final bend widest out before staying on dourly to check home sixth behind Ming Hoi Treasure, beaten 23/4 lengths.
The gelding will get better with racing and has the pedigree to be a nice type. He is a son of headline-making Pins, a past winner of seven races up to 2,000m, and the local sire of 20 winners from 27 starters. Horse of the Year Ambitious Dragon, who is favourite retain the title, is from the same sire as Dragons Pins.
Dragon Pins' dam, Bellataine, was a two-time Australian winner at 1,100m and 1,400m and sister to Bella Astarta, a winner of five races from 1,200m to 1,600m.
Bellataine has produced five starters for four winners - Indisputable (By Not A Single Doubt), Be Mine (by Belong To Me), Rabbit Nagina (by Fuji Kiseki) and Shaylah (by Strategic). Dragon Pins' pedigree shows a good deal of versatility and he can make his mark over longer journeys and on wet tracks.