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The 2016 Australian Guineas is the long-term goal for Lizard Island, but trainer Pat Hyland has revealed that he would not hesitate to send the talented colt to Sydney for the 2016 Royal Randwick Guineas.
Lizard Island was set to the spelling paddock following the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington on October 31, but Hyland is already looking towards the three-year-olds autumn campaign, which is likely to begin in Melbourne in February.
Hyland told AAP that the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on March 6 will be the initial target for Lizard Island, but he will keep his options open and is willing to send his star galloper to Sydney for the Group 1 Royal Randwick Guineas (1600m) if it ends up being the easier race.
“It’s ridiculous having the two Guineas on the same day,” Hyland said.
“We’ll aim the way of the Australian Guineas and we’ll probably go to Sydney with him a bit later, but then it might be best going to whichever is the weaker race.
“The money’s still pretty good.”
Lizard Island started his 2015 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with a sixth place finish in a maiden at Sale after badly missing the start and he was beaten again in the Wolfpack Plate (1200m) at Sandown on August 26.
The Sebring entire returned to black-type racing with a second place finish behind Bon Aurum in the Listed Pin And Win Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on September 12 before he finally broke his maiden at Pakenham on September 23.
Lizard Island produced the best performance of his career with a second place finish behind Press Statement in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) and he finished a gallant second again in the Group 3 Ladbrokes Caulfield Classic (2000m) on October 17 before she did not have a great deal of luck in running in the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington on October 31.
Hyland was pleased with the way that Lizard Island performed during the 2015 Spring Racing Carnival, but he admitted he was disappointed that the three-year-old didn’t finish closer to the winner in the Victoria Derby.
“He said `didn’t ‘I make a mess of that’ and I said `I have to agree with you’,” Hyland said.
“I’m not saying Lizard Island should have won the Derby and he may not have run the journey out, but if he had ridden him the way we had planned to ride him I think he might have loomed up at the furlong post and might have run third or fourth or fifth.”
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