A new Dragon era begins
30 Dec 2011 | Should Leticia Dragon saddle a winner on Sunday at her first day as a trainer in her own right, Kranji would not be greeted by an unfamiliar sight at the winner’s circle.
Not only has the daughter of just-retired trainer Douglas Dragon plied the route to that hallowed area countless times in her time as assistant-trainer to her father, she has been at the coalface of the Dragon establishment for more than seven years.
Whether she is at trackwork early in the morning or meeting owners for lunch, the former air stewardess had become an integral part of the Kranji landscape so much so taking the baton from her 69-year-old father to become the first woman to be granted a trainer’s licence at Kranji was hardly seen as breaking any glass ceiling.
The 37-year-old, who had always dreamed of following into Dragon Snr’s footsteps after she stops flying, sees the helming of her father’s stables as just a “continuance” of the family business.
“I’m pretty lucky my dad has always been very supportive,” said Dragon who completed a 12-month thoroughbred trainer’s course at Traintech in the Gold Coast in 2007.
“Sure it was a lot of work at the stables, but with time he’s given me more responsibilities, whether it was pre or post race.
“That’s how I have built up my confidence and if today I am taking over from him, it is more of a continuance of what he has already started and what I was already doing in the last seven years.
“It’s just a transition period during which time things will still be the same. Dad and Mum will still come with me to the races and the work at the stables will be the same.
“Dad will still continue to be around. He will be my ‘Minister Mentor’ for a long time to come.
“(Champion jockey) Joao (Moreira) will be back from his holiday in Brazil at the second meeting and will be riding most of our horses like before. I hope the Moreira legend will live on even with me.
“The only difference I can think of is that our horses will now run under my name – and that sure gives me a good feeling.”
Aptly, the first horse to officially run for her will be a debutant like herself – Arrow To Post in Race 2, the $65,000 Prosperity 2012 Stakes, a Restricted Maiden race for 2 & 3YO over 1200m on Polytrack.
The barrier trial winner is up against a moderate lot and may well give Dragon that fairytale start any newbie trainer dreams of at their baptism of fire.
“He’s got quite a lot of potential and showed it when he won his barrier trial about four weeks ago,” said Dragon who will saddle six other horses at Sunday’s New Year Day meeting including leading chances Aserious, Primera Espada and Long Haul.
“He has the right conformation for your typical speedy young sprinter. Let’s hope a newbie can give a newbie her first winner.”