Lizard Island has flown under the radar ahead of the 2016 CS Hayes Stakes, but trainer Pat Hyland is confident that his star galloper will run well in the Group 1 event at Flemington on Saturday.
Lizard Island has not been seen at the races since he finished eighth in the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington on October 31, but he showed he was ready for a return to racing when he beat the likes of Scissor Kick, Politeness and Noble Protector in a barrier trial over 990 metres at Cranbourne on February 8.
Hyland believes that Lizard Island has had a perfect preparation for the CS Hayes Stakes and he is hopeful that the son of Sebring can take out the Group 3 event as he builds towards the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at the same venue in a fortnight.
“He is in great shape and I am very happy with him,” Hyland told Racing Ahead.
“He trialed very well last when we beat Scissor Kick and we are going there to what I think is a winnable sort of race.
“He has the form and we are going there happy.
“He is ready to win, he has had a good preparation and the only thing that can improve him now is a race.
“If he can win this it would be great because he will go into a 1600 after this.”
Lizard Island was only able to record one race win during the 2015 Spring Racing Carnival, but he showed that he had plenty of talent with second place finishes in the Listed Pin & Win Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on September 12, Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) on October 10 and the Group 3 Ladbrokes Caulfield Classic (2000m) a week later.
Hyland feels that Lizard Island has improved physically since his spring campaign, but he has made even greater strides mentally and is a far more mature galloper ahead of his return to racing in the CS Hayes Stakes.
“He has developed and I think that his personality has changed a lot,” Hyland said.
“He is acting more like a good racehorse, where he was a bit immature before.
“When you are riding him he seems to be a lot stronger horse than he was last prep.
“He is a beautiful horse and he is a very genuine horse.”
Lizard Island is currently available at 2016 CS Hayes Stakes odds of $9 with Ladbrokes and he is on the fifth line of betting behind Palentino ($3.20), Ready For Victory ($6), River Wild ($6) and Tivaci ($8).