Since the first running back in 1996, no horse has won the Group 1 Dubai Turf (sponsored by DP World) more than once, so history is against British raider Lord North when he defends his crown on Saturday.
Five other Group 1 winners lie in wait for John Gosden’s six-year-old, who was the impressive winner of the 1800-metre contest last year by three lengths from Vin De Garde, who takes him on again in 2022.
Since that win 12 months ago, however, Lord North has been seen only once, when chasing home G1 Longines Dubai Sheema Classic contender Alenquer in the G3 Winter Derby over a mile and a quarter at Lingfield. He is joined in the race by fellow six-year-old and stablemate Harrovian, fourth to Authority in the G3 Neom Turf Cup in Riyadh last time out.
Lord North’s win last year came at the expense of compatriot and three-time Meydan Racecourse winner Lord Glitters, trained by David O’Meara, who could only manage sixth. Since then, the almost-white nine-year-old has been in brilliant form, landing the G3 Bahrain International Trophy in November, as well as the G2 Singspiel Stakes over the Dubai Turf course and distance.
“He had a good breeze on Sunday and Tuesday on the main track,” said Matt Ennis, who rides Lord Glitters every morning. “He felt really good and all seems well with him; he seems fresh too. We’ll just tick him over now between now and Saturday with a few quiet canters on the training track.”
A strong British team also includes two for Derby-winning trainer William Haggas, who will saddle Mohaafeth and My Oberon. Arriving in Dubai on Wednesday, the trainer revealed that Mohaafeth, who has an impressive four from eight strike rate, has had surgery since his last start in August.