Pat Hyland is a relieved trainer with Lizard Island pulling up in good order after a comeback trial at Cranbourne.
The rising five-year-old, who has been gelded since his last start in February 2016, wasn’t asked to do a lot on Monday in his first trial back from a tendon injury.
Hyland has his eye on the spring and a race like the Toorak Handicap, but is also open to giving Lizard island a winter outing.
“If I think he’s ready, I’m sure I could find a suitable race,” Hyland said.
Lizard Island has won only one of his 10 starts but did run second to Press Statement in the 2015 Caulfield Guineas.
Hyland said if that result was reversed Lizard Island would likely be standing at stud.
But a decision had to be made whether he was going to be a racehorse or a stallion.
“We couldn’t afford to let him get heavy,” Hyland said.
“He’s quite a big horse and as a colt he was going to get heavier.
“He was either going to be a stallion or a racehorse but he probably hasn’t done enough to be a stallion.
“If he’d won the Caulfield Guineas, it would have been a different ball game.”
Lizard Island went into the trial with eight weeks work on the treadmill and a further 14 weeks trackwork under his belt.
Hyland said it was an opportunity to trial him on a track that he works on every morning.
Hyland says he’s had success getting horses back to the racetrack after tendon injuries.
He pointed out Southern Crown came back from injury to win five staying races before another tendon injury, returning again to win over hurdles.
Hyland said time was a crucial factor with Lizard Island.
“The vet and I both thought this horse was right to go six months ago, but he wasn’t,” he said.
“He was trotting and cantering and within three or four weeks the tendon started to flare again so we backed off and started another program.
“He’s a horse with a lot of ability and is worth putting the time into.”