Talented five-year-old Royal Island has posted a career-best victory to date at Warrnambool this afternoon; displaying an incredible turn of foot in the final straight to take out the Listed Wangoom Handicap (1200m) with complete ease.
The start of the 2015 Wangoom Handicap was delayed slightly as leading contender Sino Eagle was unsettled in his stall and subsequently scratched from proceedings, however Royal Island was clearly unaffected when jumping from the gates well.
Settled in prime position on the heels of early leaders Tougher Than Ever and Tried and Tired, the Dubawi gelding found a good rhythm and received an ideal run in transit over away from the barriers and approaching the bend.
Maintaining position on the inside of his rivals rounding onto the final straight, Royal Island instantly made up several lengths and shot out to a comfortable lead with 400m to race; incredibly opening the gap when asked for an extra effort by jockey Jason Benbow and hitting the line three lengths in the clear of a fast-finishing Magnus Lad; Taddei Tondo boxing on for third.
Trainer John Salanitri was on hand to witness Royal Island’s impressive performance in the 2015 Wangoom Handicap and revealed a trip north for the 2015 Brisbane Winter Carnival may be on the cards for the five-year-old.
“He has always promised plenty this horse and he has been stiff his whole career,” he said.
“He has had races taken off him in town and everything like that, but he is still going forward this horse and he still has some good improvement in him.
“We were thinking that he was just short of one, so he has some good races ahead of him.
“A lot of hard work goes into this and it is good to get these sort of results.
“We were going to go to Brisbane, but we will take him home and have a look at it.
“The owner is quite keen to go to Brisbane, but we will see.”
Benbow delivered a gem of a ride aboard Royal Island for success in the 2015 Wangoom Handicap and was quick to lay the praise on the training efforts of Salanitri immediately after dismounting.
“It was a great training effort,” Benbow said.
“He has been off the scene since August last year and to produce a race like that is a great effort.
“They actually started them a little off the rail and I found myself three wide and pretty much stayed there.
“I had cover and the rest is history.
“I have been coming to Warrnambool for a long time now and to get a feature winner is something I will cherish for the rest of my career.”
Having taken out the 2015 Wangoom Handicap, Royal Island has extended his commendable race record to six wins and a further five minors from his seventeen competitive starts.
Punters who backed Royal Island to win the 2015 Wangoom Handicap at Ladbrokes.com.au have been paid out on generous $21 odds!
2015 Wangoom Handicap Final Field and Barrier Draw
|1||17e||ROYAL ISLAND||John Salanitri||Jason Benbow||–||2||54kg||$21|
|2||13||MAGNUS LAD||Wez Hunter||Chris Parnham||2.5L||10||54kg||$7.50|
|3||16||TADDEI TONDO||Gerard Moloney||Patrick Moloney (a)||3.25L||6||54kg||$13|
|4||8||TRISTRAM’S SUN (NZ)||Robbie Laing||Jake Bayliss (a)||4L||8||56kg||$14|
|5||15||STRATCOMBE||Brett Scott||Damien Thornton (a)||4.3L||7||54kg||$31|
|6||1||TRIED AND TIRED||Leon & Troy Corstens||Damien Oliver||4.8L||9||60kg||$3.50F|
|7||6||MR UTOPIA||Robert Smerdon||Mark Zahra||5L||14||56.5kg||$4.60|
|8||10||TOUGHER THAN EVER (NZ)||Scott Brunton||Jarrod Fry||7L||3||55.5kg||$31|
|9||2||ANOTHER PRELATE||Quinton Scott||Craig Robertson||7.3L||13||58kg||$51|
|10||4||BLACKIE (NZ)||Jarrod McLean||Dean Yendall||8.3L||5||57kg||$21|
|11||9||GENERAL GROOVE||Leon & Troy Corstens||Michael Walker||9.55L||15||55.5kg||$15|
|12||7||LAKE SENTENTIA||Darren Weir||Ms Michelle Payne||10.3L||12||56kg||$26|
|13||5||DANY THE FOX (NZ)||Archie Alexander||Brad Rawiller||10.4L||11||57kg||$26|
|14||11||CLANGA’S GLORY||Andrew J Payne||Ms Katelyn Mallyon (a)||10.9L||4||55kg||$81|
|SB||12||SINO EAGLE||Peter G Moody||Ms Linda Meech||–||1||54kg||$15|