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By Graham Potter | Saturday, September 25, 2021

The David Vandyke stable had the distinction of being the only stable to have runner representation in all three of the main feature races at Toowoomba on the club’s signature Weetwood day on September 25.

Desert Lord ($5.50) carried the hopes of the stable in the $150 000 Weetwood Handicap over 1200m.

Since joining the Vandyke yard at the start of the 2020/21 season, amongst other races, Desert Lord was unbeaten in three starts over the 1200m trip, including a last start win in the Listed Goldmarket at the Gold Coast.

Desert Lord was drawn wide in barrier 11 and jockey Michael Cahill elected to take the son of High Chaparral back from his wide gate and he settled in the second half of the field, some seven to eight lengths off the front-running You Make Me Smile ($6).

On the home turn You Make Me Smile was being hard ridden after being placed under pressure by Apache Chase and the latter soon ranged into the lead where, under a determined ride from Jim Byrne, he set about maintaining a sustained to the line which ultimately translated into a winning effort.

At the head of the straight Desert Lord was still well back and he straightened all of eight wide with it all to do. Unfazed by the task ahead though, the seven-year-old took up the challenge and was absolutely flying in the closing stages, only failing by 0.30 lengths to reel in Apache Chase, to claim a highly meritorious second place.

It should be noted that Desert Lord was beaten by that fast-diminishing margin by a quality racehorse in Apache Chase who has a Group 3 win in the Fred Best (when beating Ayrton) to his credit … and he is now being touted as a Golden Eagle candidate.

That closing effort by Desert Lord, coming from a poor draw and from an unfavourable and testing position on the home turn underlined the merit of just how well he finished off the race, putting Desert Lord’s performance in bright perspective and he certainly lost no followers here.

Desert Lord’s second place prize-money pushed the stake earnings of the eight-time winner to $468 530.

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Photos: Graham Potter
Photos: Graham Potter
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