Trainer Robert Heathcote is pleased with the condition of Saluter this time and believes the six-year-old is ready for a typically strong performance in Saturday’s Listed Eye Liner Stakes (1350m) at Ipswich Racecourse.
Saluter has been a notable performer largely on the Queensland racing circuit through his thirty-eight start career so far; posting seven wins and a further twelve minors on his way to more than $1 million in prize money.
Returning to the races with an impressive performance for success in the Designers Decks & Patios Handicap (1000m) on the Sunshine Coast on May 15th, the Commands gelding has been unlucky to miss recent targets after suffering a nasty stone bruise in work.
Heathcote told Racing Ahead that he believes Saluter has the class to win this year’s edition of the Eye Liner Stakes, but is wary of the five weeks that have passed since first competitive return.
“I wanted to run him a few weeks ago because it was a nice 1000m sprint first-up with 61kgs, and he got the job done, in surprisingly good time too,” Heathcote said.
“I was going to run him a couple of weeks ago and the bugger got a stone bruise, and it’s been a bit of a niggle ever since trying to get him right, but we’re pretty confident we do now.
“So that’s the only query – five weeks between runs but he’s won a million bucks this horse, so he’s clearly good enough.
“It’s perhaps not the strongest Eye Liner we’ve ever seen. We’ve got Trubia who is a really up-and-coming local horse as a $3.10 favourite but I think my fellow Saluter is good each-way value at $6.50.
“He’s been a good, honest and solid campaign through his entire career and while I he doesn’t have the best legs of the horses in my stable we’re holding him together and he seems to be training and racing with a good level of enthusiasm again.”
Heathcote revealed he will instruct jockey Brad Stewart to take a forward position on Saluter in the Eye Liner Stakes.
“He’ll probably be first three in the run and I think he can be thereabouts when the whips are cracking,” Heathcote said.
Saluter will leave from the ideal barrier 4 in the Eye Liner Stakes and will carrying a very-manageable 56kgs.
Ladbrokes Australia currently rate Saluter a $7 chance in 2016 Eye Liner Stakes betting markets.