Vandyke recruit set to Lord it over rivals

Twelve months after failing in the Epsom Handicap, Desert Lord is poised to continue his form resurgence at Eagle Farm.

Desert Lord created a huge impression when he won a class six race in hollow fashion at Eagle Farm in August at his first start for trainer David Vandyke.

He clocked 1:08.81 for the 1200 metre trip which was only fractionally outside the track record.

“He got to them so quickly and it looked like he was just getting warmed up when he hit the lead,” Vandyke said.

“I was surprised how easily he won.”

It was a remarkable return to form by Desert Lord, who finished ninth in last year’s Epsom Handicap won by Kolding.

The gelding has been kept ticking over by Vandyke, finishing second in a Sunshine Coast barrier trial.

“The trial last week has brought him back up to the mark,” Vandyke said

“I think the 1400 metres will suit, obviously he handles the Eagle Farm track well and although it’s a step up in class I think he’ll be hard to beat.”

Desert Lord is likely to be aimed at the summer carnival if he maintains winning form on Saturday.

“I’ll be guided by what he does on Saturday in regards to our next move,” Vandyke said.

“I’d say we’ll keep him here for the summer. I’ll probably back off him after Saturday, see how he pulls up and wait until the end of the year.

“I’m still getting a handle on him and because he’s an older horse we’ve got to look at him as much as the calendar.”

Vandyke said it’s unlikely Desert Lord will be tested in races beyond a mile.

“He does want to get on with the job once he gets into stride and I don’t think further than a mile would be ideal unless he relaxes a bit better,” he said.

“He’s got an awkward head carriage and he’s not the sort of horse we can restrain too much in the early and middle stages of his races.”