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Blue Lion to ward off retirement

Stakes performer Blue Lion will need to reproduce some of his best form at Doomben to ward off retirement.

Blue Lion steps up to 2000 metres for the first time in three years when he races in the Open Hcp (2030m) on Saturday.

The gelding did his early racing in Victoria and NSW for the Hawkes team before going to Singapore where he won three races and was stakes placed.

He returned to Australia to join multiple New Zealand Group-One winning trainer Paul Duncan at the Sunshine Coast in mid-2015.

Blue Lion has since won at the Sunshine Coast and at Doomben as well as finishing third in the 2015 Listed Recognition Stakes.

Duncan believes retirement might not be far away for Blue Lion but first he is keen to try him as a middle distance horse.

“He is by Zabeel so it has always been in the back of my mind to try him over some ground,” Duncan said.

“He won up to 1800 metres in Singapore and I thought his run the other day when third behind Arki over the distance was good.

“He led and they swept around him quickly and were gone before he got going again.”

Duncan said Blue Lion would need to show something on Saturday or the owners might retire him.

“I have been a bit disappointed he hasn’t done better here. But saying that he has had some bad luck and some bad rides,” Duncan said.

Damian Browne rode Blue Lion at his last start but can’t make the weight on Saturday with Luke Tarrant to take over at 54kg.

Tarrant has won on Blue Lion and was also aboard in the Recognition Stakes.

Blue Lion cost owner Greg Ingham $250,000 as a yearling in New Zealand and the now eight-year-old has won $208,000.

“Hopefully he can get some more before he is finished,” Duncan said.

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