Pony-sized three-year-old Royaltown Road has found his niche as a stayer and emerged as a leading contender for the Galilee Series Final at Caulfield.
Barely 15 hands, the Mossman gelding makes up for his lack of size with his stamina and has taken his career to a new level over 2000 metres at his last three starts,
After winning his maiden at Donald, he went down in photo-finish at Stawell before graduating to city racing with a half-length fourth to dead-heaters Cuban Sunday and Almodovar in the final heat of the Galilee series at Caulfield on March 26.
On Saturday he races over 2400 metres for the first time and the way he ran on from well back last start suggests it will be ideal for him.
Trainer Terry Kelly said Royaltown Road’s lackadaisical attitude cost him races early in his nine-start career but it had become a bonus as he stepped up in distance.
“Trying to get him through his classes to where we are today he was a little bit too relaxed,” Kelly said.
“You had to shake him up in his races when racing at the provincials and it cost him.”
One of the hardest-working jockeys in Australia, Dean Yendall, has ridden Royaltown Road at his last three runs and will partner him again on Saturday.
Yendall has ridden in more than 700 races already this season and is sitting on 99.5 wins, putting him fourth on the national premiership.
Royaltown Road’s last run at Caulfield was all that connections had hoped for with him handling the big rise in class well and the event being a form race for Saturday’s feature.
Third-placed Elusive King has opened the $3.80 favourite with TAB Sportsbet ahead of Cuban Sunday ($4.80) and Almodovar ($5).
Right Of Refusal didn’t contest the Caulfield lead-up because of a virus but won at Seymour last Thursday and is also at $5, while Royaltown Road is next best at $10.
“A couple more strides last start and it might have been a different result, who knows,” Kelly said.
“He has drawn a good barrier (one) on Saturday against pretty much the same horses again and I think he is right in the mix.
“He is coming into the race very well and I couldn’t be happier with him.”
Part-owned by his breeder Gerry Harvey, Royaltown Road is having his first race campaign which started back in October.
Kelly said the gelding was coping well and that the Galilee was his trial for the VRC St Leger Stakes (2800m) at Flemington, and possibly the SA Derby in May.
“He’s had a fair campaign but his races have been spaced,” Kelly said.