April 22, 2024

Lord North holds sway in Dubai Turf

Lord North
Lord North wins the Dubai Turf Stakes (Photo by Coady Photography)

Lord North performed up to his status as the 8-5 favorite, and highest-rated runner, with a sparkling rally in Saturday’s $4 million Dubai Turf (G1) at Meydan. Cutting back to about 1 1/8 miles for the first time since his breakout victory in the 2019 Cambridgeshire H., the John Gosden charge overwhelmed his foes in 1:46.46.

Sheikh Zayed bin Mohammed Racing’s colorbearer contributed to two doubles on Dubai World Cup night. Lord North was the second Dubawi gelding to win, following UAE Derby (G2) hero Rebel’s Romance. He also served as the opening act for his Gosden stablemate Mishriff in the Dubai Sheema Classic (G1).

Unraced since his fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1), Lord North appeared a tad keen early. But jockey Frankie Dettori gently cajoled him into easing further back. Early leader First Contact and stalker Eqtiraan continued their sparring into the stretch until the closers descended.

Lord North swept down the outside to impose his authority. Japan’s Vin de Garde speared through on the inner, and British all-weather performer Felix finished well, but neither could trouble his lordship who crossed the wire three lengths clear.

“It was a nice pace,” Dettori recapped. “I had plenty of horse and I know he stays really well. So I kicked early and he flew. I didn’t do much else after that; he did the rest.”

Epic Hero reported home fourth, trailed by Land of Legends; Lord Glitters, who never landed a blow from off the pace; Eqtiraan; Court House, who flubbed the start and couldn’t go to Plan B; Glen Force; First Contact; Zainhom; and Al Suhail, who dropped back in a performance that looked too bad to be true. Regal Reality was scratched.

Lord North continued his sequence of winning first up for the fourth straight year. He opened last campaign by scoring in his Group debut in the Brigadier Gerard (G3) and reached a new career high in the Prince of Wales’s (G1) at Royal Ascot, both at 1 1/4 miles. Lord North was subsequently third in the Juddmonte International (G1) and trailed in the Champion (G1) on desperate going. His Breeders’ Cup Turf effort was useful, if perhaps suggesting he’d prefer shorter.

“We were always hoping he would run well as he was in brilliant form out here,” said Thady Gosden, his father’s co-trainer as of the beginning of the British Flat season. “But he definitely put that race to bed very well from pretty far back. We will take him home now and then maybe give him a break and target the race he won last year at Ascot.”

Bred by Godolphin in Ireland, Lord North has compiled a record of 13-7-1-0 with about $3 million in his account. His dam, Najoum, is a Giant’s Causeway half-sister to Grade 1 victor Bandini from the family of successful sire Stormy Atlantic.