It has always been a special race for the East Cape trainers to try and win and there is also huge interest from the Cape Town yards nowadays.
On Friday at Fairview it is time for this year’s R350 000 Listed Derby for three-year-olds over 2400m and it is worth taking a look at which horses have won it in recent years.
Which horse was your favourite EC Derby winner?
We put this question to Gqeberha-based racing journalist HENK STEENKAMP, who hasn’t missed a EC Derby in ages, and he didn’t hesitate to answer.
“Lizard’s Desire (Lizard Island) in 2009. That was just an awesome performance.
The EC Derby was still a grade3-race then and this meeting was held on a chilly Sunday at the Arlington track.
Trainer Mitch Wiese had Lizard’s Desire more than ready but there were stamina doubts as he had never attempted 2400m.
That might have been the reason why the bookmakers let him drift from 5/1 to 13/1.
There was a strong favourite from Western Cape trainer Glen Kotzen in the race and although Wiese was confident of a huge performance, the punters seemed sceptical.
They need not have been because Lizard’s Desire destroyed the field.
Jockey S’manga Khumalo effortlessly got him in a good position early and with 300 meters to go it was race over. He won by five lengths, easing up.
It was a huge win for the Wiese stable and also for Khumalo who at that stage was trying to make a name for himself.
Lizard’s Desire went on to a successful international career and amazingly enough failed by a whisker to win the US$10 million Dubai World Cup for Mike de Kock. He followed that with a short-head second in the Group 1 QE !! Cup before winning the Group 1 Singapore Airlines International Cup.
For a decade he was the last locally-trained Derby-winner.
After his win, the Western Cape raiders dominated the Derby until two years ago.
There have been some fine Derby performances but for me Lizard’s Desire stands out,” concluded Steenkamp.
So, who was your favourite?
WSB EAST CAPE DERBY
2021: Jaeger Moon
2020: American Princess
2019: St Vladimir
2018: American Landing
2017: Dorset Noble
2016: Captain Splendid
2015: St Tropez
2014: Desert Swirl
2013: True Master
2012: Tribal Dance
2010: Robert The Bruce
2009: Lizard’s Desire
2008: Just Like Al
2007: Key Castle
2006: Captain Cook
2004: Central Pacific
Picture: The 2009 East Cape Derby winner Lizard’s Desire winning the Group 1 Singapore Airlines International Cup in May 2010 under his regular overseas pilot Kevin Shea (Summerhillstud.co.za).