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Desert Lord set to rule over Eagle Farm

By Glenn Davis

The lethal combination of David Vandyke and Ryan Maloney has bookmakers wary ahead of Desert Lord’s clash with star country galloper The Harrovian at Eagle Farm on Saturday.

Desert Lord makes the step up in grade from winning a Class Six at Eagle Farm in late August to the 1400-metre Lexus Spring Open Cup Quality.

Desert Lord, a six-year-old gelding, did his early racing under the Team Hawkes banner in Sydney, and was having his first start for Caloundra trainer David Vandyke when successful last start.

It was his first start since finishing seventh behind Godolphin’s Ranier at Randwick in mid-April.

Vandyke and Maloney have a near 30% return on investment since they formed a partnership at the start of the season.

From 96 total rides for Vandyke, Maloney has ridden 39 winners and 32 placings for a strike rate of 40%.

Vandyke has great respect for The Harrovian but expects another strong performance from Desert Lord.

“I was impressed with his win last time and he’ll be very competitive,” Vandyke said.

“This is a step up in grade for him but he’s got the ability and 1400 metres should suit him better.”

Vandyke is unsure of Desert Lad’s immediate future despite being a Group 3 placegetter in the Bill Ritchie at Randwick in September last year.

“I want to get Saturday out of the way first then I’ll re-assess,” Vandyke said.

“I only know what he has done in the south but he’s coming along well.”

Desert Lord pleased Vandyke in a recent barrier trial when the son of High Chaparral finished second over 1000 metres at the Sunshine Coast on September 22.

“His trial was okay and he hit the line well,” he said.

“It has brought him on even further.”

Vandyke fears The Harrovian, who is making his Brisbane debut after winning first-up in the Cairns Newmarket (1200m) on August 28.

“Any horse who can win seven in a row has to be good,” Vandyke said.

“It’s been a great effort from him and his trainer and he’ll be hard to beat.”

The Harrovian created history by becoming the first horse to win the Northern Crown Series bonus for stayers last year, collecting a massive $287,000 in prizemoney with his wins in the Townsville and Cairns Cups last spring.

He has won 10 of his 12 starts in north Queensland for trainer Steve Massingham.

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