Slow build-up fits talented Lizard for comeback
FIFTEEN months is longer than the careers of most colts these days but that’s the amount of time Group 1 placegetter Lizard Island has been off the scene.
The 2015 Caulfield Guineas runner-up makes his long awaited return – as a gelding – in the Rod Johnson Handicap (1400m) at Flemington tomorrow having overcome two tendon injuries.
Trainer Pat Hyland revealed the four-year-old has been in work for a long time, and given good grounding, he heads to the races with the fingers crossed.
“He’s fit enough to run very well, fitness won’t be a problem,” Hyland said.
“But the fact he hasn’t seen a race for a long time he’s sure to feel the pinch somewhere along the track.”
Lizard Island’s problems began when he suffered his first tendon injury after running fourth behind Tivaci in the CS Hayes Stakes in February last year.
After an extended break Hyland had him in light work preparing for a comeback when the tendon failed on him again. It was then decision
made to geld Lizard Island and give him another chance.
“He’s been through the wars but hopefully we are on top of things and it’s all behind him,” Hyland said.
“At the moment the tendon appears really good and he’s certainly not sore on it.
“I know it’s been a long time since he raced but he has been in work long, long time.”
Hyland, 75, sent Lizard Island around in a trial on the Cranbourne synthetic track a couple of weeks ago and gained the green light to resume his career.
But trainer isn’t going to get too far ahead of himself just yet and wants to see the horse get through the race.
“We didn’t put too much pressure on him in that trial, the idea was to see how everything stood up and he’s come through it well,” he said.
“It’ll be lovely if can run a nice race, he’s a very good horse and he proved that as young horse.
“It’s not much good trying to plan something yet, we don’t want to jump the hurdles before we come to them.”
A return to the Flemington straight track appears to favour Hyland’s mare Lake Como in the Bruce Gadsden Handicap (1000m).
It’s been a month since the four-year-old finished last in the Group 1 Robert Sangster Stakes and while Hyland said he’d love a 1200m event he expects the mare to run well.
“She seems to race well down the straight and history tells us if you get one that likes it keep them there,” he said.
“It’s a bit short but it’s not too big problem because it’s down the straight and it’s a small field.”
Lizard Island is set to retur n 15 months after injur y saw the Caulfield Guineas runner-up sidelined