Trainers test the waters with untapped colt in the San Domenico Stakes

Connections of lightly raced colt General Salute hope to get a clearer gauge on where he fits into the spring carnival picture after he takes on a highly credentialled field of three-year-olds in the San Domenico Stakes.

By Russian Revolution, General Salute is a half-brother to 2021 Villiers Stakes winner Brutality and co-trainer Gerald Ryan expects him to be better suited over further than the 1100 metres of Saturday’s race.

But Ryan has also been buoyed by General Salute’s two career performances as a juvenile – a debut placing behind subsequent stakes winners Red Resistance and Steel City in January, and a Warwick Farm win in April when he claimed the scalp of Snapback, who went on to finish second in the BTC Sires’ Produce Stakes.

“He’s a half-brother to Brutality and he’s probably going to get better as he gets older, and he’s probably going to run 1400 metres, maybe 1600 metres,” Ryan said.

“But we’ll learn a lot more after Saturday.

“I would imagine 1100 will be too short for him, but I expect him to be finding the line and setting himself up to go a tad further later on.”

General Salute will wear synthetic hoof filler in Saturday’s Rosehill assignment, but Ryan says punters shouldn’t read anything negative into it.

“He’s a bit soft in his feet and he just has it around the outside of the foot where they can nail a shoe into it,” he said.

Stablemate Brosnan has undergone a gear change of a different kind and returns in the Merrylands RSL Club Handicap (1200m) as a gelding.

Group 1 placed as a juvenile and Group 2 placed at three, Saturday’s benchmark 88 Handicap will be his softest challenge for some time.

The horse’s best form is over slightly further, but he has been kept fresh for the sprint journey and finished an eye-catching fourth to Aft Cabin in the Eskimo Prince Stakes (1400m) fresh last campaign.

Ryan has been pleased Brosnan’s preparations at home and expects a bold return.

“He has been finishing his work off well, and he’s been working better than he used to work,” he said.

“I’m not saying he could win a 1200 fresh-up, but he’s in a race where he can run well.”

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