Ex-Hong Kong galloper breaks through at Grafton

Guy Dragon, pictured here winning in Hong Kong, broke through for his first Australian win at Grafton on Sunday for trainer Adam Campton.

Veteran galloper Guy Dragon proved many doubters wrong by demonstrating that he still has some running left in his legs, with the Dark Angel gelding winning the 1425m Open Handicap at Grafton on Sunday. 

The eight-year-old was a four-time winner in Hong Kong, getting the job done twice at both Sha Tin and Happy Valley, earning his owners well over $900,000 before joining the Adam Campton team on the Gold Coast. 

He made his Australian debut at Murwillumbah back in August and followed that run up with a sixth-placed finish at Doomben and a second-placed finish on the Gold Coast last month. 

On the quick back-up, and with three-kilogram claiming apprentice Emily Lang in the saddle, the $4 chance jumped well from gate three at Grafton and led from pillar to post when taking out the $27,000 event, holding off the Stephen Lee-trained See It Thru (Les Tilley, $5) by 0.82 of a length, while in third was the Stewart Campbell-trained Pride of Pyingerra (Robbie Fradd, $4.20).

Guy Dragon was the first horse given to Campton when he started training last year, and he admitted the win meant a lot to his team, who were just happy to deliver their overseas owners an Australian victory. 

“It was a massive thrill. He has been a huge work in progress,” Campton said. 

“It’s my name next to it, but my staff deserve a pat on the back with this horse. He has been in work for a long time, and (there is) a great group of owners still from Hong Kong, and they trusted me with him, and I said I’ll try and get one for you and thank god he has done it.

“(It was a) great ride from the kid (Emily Lang), and Paddy; he normally straps him every day, and he stayed home today but it will mean a lot to him, and it’s a big thrill.”

Campton believes he can get more wins out of Guy Dragon, who has started to showcase his best form in recent runs. 

“There was plenty telling me to retire him, and I just knew he still had it in him,” Campton said.

“He is a quirky old bugger, and he means the world to us this horse.

“He is doing well, and his work last week and run last week was good and I thought, you know what, we will back him up, he is fit is a fiddle and we are thrilled to get that (victory).”

It was a good day of racing at Grafton on Sunday, with a soft five race course offering punters some respite from the recent rain and heavy ratings. 

Ballina trainer Stephen Lee and jockey Les Tilley combined for a winning double in the first two races, with Inari Fox ($5.50) winning the 1425m Maiden Handicap and More to Adore taking out the 1025m Maiden Plate for colts, geldings, and entires. 

Robbie Fradd also landed a double when helping the James Healy-trained Sirianni ($2) to a good win in the 1025m Maiden Plate for fillies and mares before winning on the Annabel Neasham-trained Lady Rain ($1.65) in the 1200m Class One Handicap. 

For all Grafton results, readers can click here