Pat Hyland is looking to the upcoming classics with Lizard Island after his maiden success at Pakenham.
The trainer is convinced the colt can feature in some major races this spring after his success in the Evergreen Turf Charity Race Day Maiden Plate on Wednesday.
Hyland’s carnival plans for Lizard Island include the Group One Caulfield Guineas on October 10 and the Victoria Derby at Flemington on October 31.
Victory in the Caulfield Guineas would be an early birthday present for Hyland who turns 74 the following day.
Hyland is one of seven jockeys to have won racing’s grand slam of the Melbourne Cup, Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate and Golden Slipper.
He still rides trackwork and Lizard Island is one of his main mounts each morning but it was Dwayne Dunn who did the steering on Wednesday with Lizard Island scoring a comfortable three-length win as a well supported $1.55 favourite.
“I ride him in all his work,” Hyland said.
“I think he’s a top horse.
“We want the Guineas, that’s the one, and then we’ll work out the Derby after that.
“I thought he might finish up a Derby horse and I haven’t lost any points for it today.”
What impressed Hyland most was the way Lizard Island relaxed in the run and he has no concerns about a rise in distance.
Lizard Island is by Sebring, the same sire as Criterion who won the 2014 ATC Australian Derby.
The three-year-old had notched three seconds from his five starts leading into Wednesday but Dunn said the colt was starting to put it all together.
“He’s a bit of a lad and has done a few things wrong in his races at a lot higher level than this but today he did everything right,” Dunn said.
“He should take a lot confidence out of the win going forward.”
Meanwhile, stewards took the unusual step of lodging a minor protest on behalf of connections of third-past-the-post My Sanctuary in the Evergreen Racing Surfaces ERS Handicap won by Transfer Allowance.
The objection was upheld with My Sanctuary promoted to second and Michael Dee’s mount and second-past-the-post Speed Gonzales relegated to third.
Stewards felt interference at the 1300m resulted in Mark Zahra’s mount losing significant ground.
“We accept that the interference was a long way out but My Sanctuary loses 1-1/2 lengths and Michael Dee gains an unfair advantage,” Racing Victoria chief steward Terry Bailey said.