Lord North Looking to Build on Historic Exploits

Lord North could aim for a fourth Dubai Turf | Racingfotos.com


Lord North (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) might not be the most talented horse his breed-shaping sire has ever produced, but few can claim to have shown the same longevity as John and Thady Gosden's stable stalwart, the star name among 22 entries for the G3 BetUK Winter Derby at Southwell on Saturday, February 24.

Successful on his sole two-year-old start at Redcar in October 2018, HH Sheikh Zayed bin Mohammed Racing's Lord North embarks on his seventh year in training at Clarehaven Stables with relatively few miles on the clock for one of his age, boasting a career record of 10 wins from 20 starts.

After climbing through the ranks in handicaps as a three-year-old, notably winning the prestigious Cambridgeshire at Newmarket, Lord North took his form to a new level altogether during the 2020 campaign when he won the G3 Brigadier Gerard S. at Haydock and G1 Prince of Wales's S. at Royal Ascot, beating the multiple top-level winners Addeybb (Ire), Barney Roy (GB) and Japan (GB).

That remains Lord North's only Group 1 victory on European soil, but his subsequent exploits in the Middle East have guaranteed his place in history as the first three-time winner of the G1 Dubai Turf at Meydan. His £6.3 million in career earnings also makes him the richest-ever racehorse by Dubawi ahead of Benbatl (GB) (£5.9 million), whose three Group 1 wins included the 2018 Dubai Turf.

Lord North–who had the Lord North H. run in his honour at Meydan on Friday, January 12–has been on the sidelines since March last year when his trademark turn of foot sealed him his third straight win in the Dubai Turf, beating Danon Beluga (Jpn), previously Group 1-placed in Japan, by three quarters of a length.

A few weeks earlier Lord North had returned from eight months off with an emphatic success in the Winter Derby, while his dead-heat with Panthalassa (Jpn) in the 2022 Dubai Turf followed a runner-up finish when returning from an even longer absence at Lingfield.

All roads surely lead back to Meydan for the eight-year-old Lord North, who could try to complete a remarkable four-timer in the Dubai Turf on Saturday, March 30, though it won't quite be the usual tried-and-tested path if he takes up his entry in the Winter Derby along the way, with that Group 3 set to be run at Southwell for the first time this year.

The other Group 1 winner among the 22 entries is the William Haggas-trained Dubai Honour (Ire) (Pride of Dubai {Aus}), who won the G1 Ranvet S. and G1 Queen Elizabeth S. in Australia in the first part of 2023, while there would arguably be no more fascinating runner than the long-absent Eydon (Ire) (Olden Times {GB}), last seen since finishing fourth in the 2022 G1 2000 Guineas when trained by Roger Varian.

Now in the care of Andrew Balding, Eydon needs to prove that he retains all his ability after such a significant absence, but there is certainly nothing wrong with his Newmarket form which saw him chase home a trio of multiple Group 1 winners in Coroebus (Ire), Native Trail (GB) and Luxembourg (Ire).

Balding said, “Eydon has a very high level of form, although it has been some time since he was last on the track. He has had a few niggles, but we are really pleased with him at the moment and the Winter Derby is very much the plan. The intention is to go straight there without a run–we feel that is the right thing to do.”

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