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Lizard’s Desire winning the Singapore Airlines International Cup (Gr1)
(Photo and Footage : Singapore Turf Club)
SINGAPORE AIRLINES INTERNATIONAL CUP (Gr 1)
Kranji, Turf, 2000m
Gloria De Campeao may have broken the hearts of Lizard’s Desire and his connections with a well-placed nose on the wire in the G1 Dubai World Cup in March, but the South African four year-old got the last laugh yesterday with a vengeful half-length win in the R16.3-million Singapore Airlines International Cup.
Nicci Garner writes that the Mike de Kock-trained gelding had been beaten a whisker by Gloria De Campeao in the Dubai World Cup on the all-weather Tapeta surface at Meydan and failed by only a neck to tag Viva Pataca in the QEII Cup on the grass at Sha Tin, Hong Kong, last month. They say third time’s the charm, and for the South African-bred gelding, it was!
The withdrawal of Shadow Gate at the start caused some consternation because the Japanese runner was expected to be one of the pacemakers in the race which was run in a drizzle. However, his absence was nullified by Jolie’s Shinju setting steady fractions many lengths clear of Gloria De Campeao (7-2 third favourite). Waikato and Goldschatz disputed third place with Lahaleeb on their heels. Lizard’s Desire was racing three wide with Al Shemali and Yamanin Kingly on his inside. Presvis was closer than normal, racing just behind them.
Halfway through the race, Gloria de Campeao had moved up to race just behind the pacemaker about four lengths clear of Waikato with Lizard’s Desire falling away slightly to race beside Presvis.
The field started closing in on the leaders coming around the turn but Lizard’s Desire was still about four lengths in arrears alongside Al Shemali as Gloria De Campeao pulled abreast of the leader. He took over inside the final 300m where Lizard’s Desire still had three lengths to find, looking to be in all sorts of trouble.
The South African took off in the final 200m, though. He brushed them all aside to lead about 75m from the line and, though Gloria De Campeao tried to go with him, the 5-2 second favourite’s momentum carried him across the line 0.50 lengths clear of his French-trained rival. Al Shamali ran a game third, 1.80 lengths further back. Presvis, the 22-10 favourite who had not enjoyed a clear passage in the QEII Cup, again ran into traffic and could only finish fifth.
Lizard’s Desire will return to Mike de Kock’s Dubai base on Wednesday. “He’s earned two months in a paddock,’’ said an “ecstatic’’ assistant trainer Stephen Jell.
Jockey Kevin Shea, who had piloted Lizard’s Desire in the Dubai World Cup, said afterwards: “My horse quickened up so easily that I knew it was just the two of us. Gloria De Campeao doesn’t lay down the towel easily but my horse flew today and deserved his win.
“Full credit to the Mike de Kock racing team, especially Stephen and Ming. They’ve had this horse ready for Dubai and Hong Kong - and it didn’t take a rocket scientist to know that Lizard’s Desire’s work on Wednesday was phenomenal and that his sprint-up on Friday was at (world-class sprinter) Rocket Man’s pace.
“He’s come from being a handicapper to winning an international Group 1,” said Stephen Jell. “And he’s done it on different surfaces as well!”
“He’s such an easy horse to travel. He is so laidback on an aeroplane - then he gets out and does his stuff.”
Lizard’s Desire will have some time off and then be guided on a campaign that will culminate with another try in Dubai next March.
Jockeys’ quotes :
Kevin Shea – Lizard’s Desire (1st)
“This is fantastic, Sweet revenge for Dubai. And the fact that he’s kept producing is a real credit to the Mike De Kock team, and in particular Stephen Jell.”
Bruno Reis – Gloria De Campeao (2nd)
“He has run very well. It’s the first time I have ridden the horse, and he handled the conditions much better than we thought he would. He always tries his best, and he did again today.”
Royston Ffrench – Al Shemali (3rd)
“He’s run his usual honest race, and I was very pleased with him. He was tightened up a little, about half a furlong out, but it made no difference, the winner had come to win his race.”
Joao Moreira – Waikato (4th)
“He had a perfect run, and gave me a good feel throughout the race. He’s done the best job of the local horses, and I felt he did stay the distance.”
Ryan Moore – Presvis (5th)
“He lost a front shoe on the first turn, when he got tightened up, and he was never comfortable after that.”
Ronnie Stewart – Jolie’s Shinju (6th)
“There’s no other way to ride her, and she was happy rolling in front, although I am not sure she appreciated the wet ground. I was pleased with her effort at this level.”
John Egan – Lahaleeb (7th)
“She just got a bit tired at the finish. She had a little setback at the start of the week, and I doubt she was quite at the top of her game.”
Saimee Jumaat – El Dorado (8th)
“He was never comfortable, never happy on the ground – a bit disappointing.”
John Powell – Drovetti (9th)
“He worked home OK, and really didn’t run too badly given the strength of this race.”
Vlad Duric – Goldschatz (10th)
“He had a good enough run, but couldn’t come on when it counted.”
Yuichi Shibayama – Yamanin Kingly (11th)
“Never happy in the soft ground. He needs it firm.”
Katsuharu Tanaka – Shadow Gate - Withdrawn at gate.
Extract from Racing Express