A spell beckons for Royal Mile ahead of a spring campaign that his Mount Gambier trainer believes could see the gelding sneak a nice race.
Royal Mile runs in the Ladbrokes Punters Assist Handicap at Sandown on Saturday before a brief spell.
Trainer Lee Creek is planning an early foray into the Melbourne spring having worked out the rising five-year-old is better placed over more ground.
Royal Mile came to the attention of Adelaide racegoers when he strung together four wins on end last year, culminating in the Group 3 Chairman’s Stakes (2000m) at Morphettville.
He then went on to finish fifth in the Group 1 South Australian Derby behind Explosive Jack.
Royal Mile ended up as one of the better three-year-olds of his generation in South Australia and paid for it by getting up in the ratings, and weights.
“I probably misread the horse as he’s definitely a stayer,” Creek said.
“We had been in two minds which way to head with him because the three-year-old form can be a bit misleading, but he was probably too good for them over there at that 2000-metre trip.”
Royal Mile will race on a heavy track for the first time, although Creek is unfazed saying the gelding has trialled on that type of surface while also being successful on a track on the worst side of soft.
“He’ll go out after Saturday and have a three-week break and we’ll set him for some of the earlier races in the spring before all the big guns roll into town,” Creek said.
“He could pick off a nice race.”
Apprentice Jacob Opperman, now based in Melbourne with Mathew Ellerton, has ridden Royal Mile in all his 17 starts to date, for six wins, however he is unlikely to take any of his 2kg claim.
“I had plenty of blokes wanting to jump on him, but I’ll stick with Jacob,” Creek said.
“He’s done nothing wrong on the horse.”