Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum’s Lizard’s Desire won the 2010 Singapore Airlines International Cup (G1) by a neck over Gloria De Campeao, avenging the reverse result in the 2010 Dubai World Cup (G1), and confirming the overwhelming strength of the Dubai International Racing Carnival, Michael Dickinson’s Tapeta surface, and the grit and determination of racing’s South African superstars, Mike De Kock and Kevin Shea.
Al Shemali, winner of the 2010 Dubai Duty Free (G1), franked his own form with a strong showing third behind the top pair. The trifecta could not have served as a stronger result for racing in the United Arab Emirates and the overwhelming benefits afforded from wintering there. Making his sixth start of the year, Lizard’s Desire has been a picture of consistency. Winning twice at the 2010 DIRC, the son of Lizard Island found trouble in the Maktoum Challenge – Round 3 (G2) and was beaten only a nose in the Dubai World Cup before a neck defeat in the Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup (G1) at Sha Tin. Lizard’s Desire got the 2,000 meters in 2:02.12.
Local hope, and longshot, Jolie’s Shinju shot out to an early lead the first time around, setting a blazing pace in the rain-softened ground. Over a course officially rated as yielding, Gloria De Campeao stalked Jolie’s Shinju through a blistering early quarter. The daughter of Jolie’s Halo slowed down the going over the second 400 meters, before the pair sped away through a ridiculous fast third 400 meters. Race commentator Michael Maxworthy accurately reported there were two races going at once, that between the top pair, well clear of the remaining nine runners. Japan’s Shadow Gate, winner of the 2007 SAI Cup, was a scratch at the barrier after breaking through and lacerating his hind quarters.
The story behind Lizard’s Desire is a rather incredible one according to South African racing expert Jimmy Lithgow, told here in Singapore this week. Breeder A J Boshoff was out for a trail ride in the rural bush of South Africa and had been given a mare to ride that, by his keen eye and feel, he thought was a decent thoroughbred. After completing the ride, Boshoff asked the owner if he could buy the mare, Annsfield. Eventually, he bred Annsfield to the lackluster Australian runner Lizard Island and off they went.
Below, jockey Kevin Shea receives his trophy from Singaporean president Sellapan Ramanathan. To the right is assistant trainer Stephen Jell receiving his trophy on behalf of Mike De Kock.
Earlier, Hong Kong’s Green Birdie upset local favorite Rocket Man in the KrisFlyer International Sprint (G1) with a neck-long victory. The wet conditions may have played a part in the result as Rocket Man hung in the straight in a different but yet, similar fashion from his 2009 defeat in the race, also to a Hong Kong shipper (Sacred Kingdom).