A debut win is always a great sign but trainer Michael Chang Chun-wai fears that knee injuries may not only limit Dragon Master’s output but also keep him confined to straight racing.
Still on a high after Rich Tapestry’s Group Three success in Dubai on Thursday, Chang was pumped up after his three-year-old’s straight track win at double figure odds, but said the long-term prognosis for the son of Darci Brahma wasn’t great.
“He has bone chips in both knees,” Chang said after his 11th domestic win for the season, which also gave jockey Nash Rawiller his 11th success. “Eventually the horse will need arthroscopic surgery to clean those joints up. He is OK at the moment, while he is moving freely we can keep him going and he will be competitive again next time out. He has enough ability to win in Class Three.”
Although Chang said Dragon Master also had the necessary stamina to tackle 1,200m events, the pressure of taking turns would be too much for the youngster’s troublesome joints.
“I won’t dare try him around a bend, the twisting and turning might be too much for him to handle and I don’t want to risk it,” Chang said. “Anyway, why put the pressure on him? We know he can handle the straight now and we will stick to what works.”
Dragon Master had completed three nice trials before the impressive debut, one when he cruised alongside John Size’s midweek winner My Darling, and two more under Brett Prebble – who jumped off to retain the ride on race favourite Flying Monkey.
“Brett told me the horse only had 'cheap speed' – but I guess he was wrong,” Chang said. “He has jumped from barrier one and sat up near the pace, he did it the hard way and was too good for them.”
Chang provided a positive update on Rich Tapestry after the eight-year-old’s soft win in the Group Three Al Shindagha Sprint at Meydan.
“He is a great traveller and he came through that race perfect,” said Chang.
Rich Tapestry will now head to the Group Three Mahab Al Shimaal on Super Saturday, a race he won two years ago, before lining up for a third shot at the US$2million Group One Golden Shaheen.
“I suppose we will run on March 5, I don’t want him getting bored over there,” “Chang said. “He won very easily, the jockey didn’t even have to hit him, so he is still feeling good.”