Royal Island Races for Spring Group 1 Targets

Caulfield horseman John Salanitri will use the weekend run of his rising seven-year-old Royal Island as a guide to whether the horse is up to a Group 1 spring assignment later this campaign in Melbourne.

The Dubawi gelding is still relatively lightly-raced for his age with 24 runs for six wins to date, which he’ll add to in either Melbourne or Sydney on Saturday.

The last start Gold Topaz runner-up to Thermal Current on June 10 at Sawn Hill is entered for a home run at Caulfield Racecourse in a Benchmark 90 as well as Rosehill’s $100,000 Listed Civic Stakes (1200m).

Salanitri said the Victorian run, where Royal Island is allocated 59.5kg, is the preferred target but that the weekend’s weather would determine where he lines-up.

“Preferably we will run here at Caulfield but that depends on the weather, because he is nothing but a wet tracker and when I say wet track I mean the old fashioned wet tracker,” Salanitri told Racing Victoria.

“Sometimes he can perform okay on the slow ground but otherwise he is a duffer if it is any better.”

Should he start in the Civic Stakes it will be the horse’s first run in stakes class since a second on a mud track at Warrnambool in early May to Yesterday’s Songs in the Listed Wangoom Handicap (1200m).

He won the same race last year, but nothing since, meaning he is also out to break a notable winning drought on the weekend.

Salanitri has always had a high opinion of Royal Island, but as yet the galloper hasn’t been raced in Group class.

That is something his trainer hopes will change this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, which he hopes will include Royal Island’s maiden Group 1 start.

“He is good enough to win me a Group 1 race, it might sound stupid, but he is that good on those really wet tracks, but these days the surfaces are so well drained you are flat out getting one of those old-fashioned wet tracks so we have to go with what we are dealt with,” Salanitri said.

Royal Island has had four Heavy track starts to date for one win and a second, and has also been outstanding on Soft going (10-4-3-0).

“He is not the best of track workers, he just does enough to please you, so he is a frustrating horse to train, I’m always praying whatever race you’ve got set for him you get rain,” Salantiri added.

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