Trainer Pat Hyland has confirmed that Lizard Island will return to the races in the 2016 CS Hayes Stakes at Flemington next weekend after he recorded an impressive victory in a barrier trial at Cranbourne yesterday.
Lizard Island contested the third barrier trial of the morning over 990 metres and along with Scissor Kick he put a significant gap on the rest of the field, which include Group 1 winner Politeness, to score a dominant win.
Hyland told Racing Ahead this morning that he was very happy with the performance of Lizard Island and he believes that the three-year-old is a stronger and much more relaxed horse ahead of the start of his 2016 Autumn Racing Carnival campaign.
“I was very happy with him and he looked pretty good to me,” Hyland said.
“They ran pretty good time and Nick Hall was chuffed about him.
“It all looks pretty good at the moment.
“He is a bit older and a lot stronger than he was in the spring.
“I was really happy with him yesterday and that horse Scissor Kick I think he goes pretty good.
“I ride him in all of his work and he just seems a different horse.”
Lizard Island finished second behind Press Statement in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield on October 10 and he went on to finish second in the Group 3 Ladbrokes Caulfield Classic (2000m) before he had no luck in running in the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington on October 31.
Hyland plans on keeping Lizard Island to races over a mile this preparation and the son of Sebring is set to resume in the Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on February 20 before he returns to Group 1 level for the Australian Guineas (1600m) at the same venue a fortnight later.
Lizard Island was not included in the nominations for the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) that were released yesterday, but he could still make the trip to Sydney for the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Royal Randwick on April 2.
“I don’t think we will get further than a mile and that will be where we are concentrating on this trip,” Hyland said.
“He ran so well in the 2000 metres race at Caulfield, where we thought he should have won, and it temped us to have a shot at the Derby and while he didn’t have much luck in the Derby at all, even if he had all the luck I don’t think he could have won the race.
“I think he is more of an up to 1600 metre horse.”
Lizard Island is currently available at 2016 Australian Guineas odds of $21 with Ladbrokes, while Perfect Reflection ($7) is a narrow favourite from Mahuta ($8), Palentino ($8), Press Statement ($8), Tarzino ($10) and Xtravagant ($11).