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Desert Lord to tackle the Sunshine Coast Cup fresh

By Glenn DavisDSC-6334.jpg

Trainer David Vandyke is hopeful Desert Lord can add another Stakes race to his resume when the gelding resumes in the Sunshine Coast Cup on Saturday.

Desert Lord has an impeccable record with Vandyke since transferring from the Hawkes stable in Sydney, and will be ridden by Ryan Maloney in the 1400-metre Listed feature.

The seven-year-old’s only Stakes win was in the Listed Goldmarket at the Gold Coast last August.

However, he went close to adding a second when narrowly beaten by the Desleigh Forster-trained Apache Chase in the Listed Weetwood Handicap at Toowoomba last September.

A son of High Chaparral, Desert Lord has won four times from only eight starts in Queensland and has missed a place only once in The Buffering at Eagle Farm in January last year.

Vandyke believes Desert Lord races best fresh and has him primed for a strong first-up performance with three barriers trials under his belt.

“He’s had three trials but I wasn’t blown away by any of them,” Vandyke said.

“But he knows the difference between a trial and a race.

“He hasn’t raced since the Weetwood but I thought his run that day was outstanding after he drew wide.

“He’s been an excellent horse for the stable and he’ll be nominated for the bigger races during the winter.

“He’ll go well but I would have liked him to have trialled a bit better.”

Meanwhile, Vandyke’s boom sprinter Weona Smartone also makes his return following a short break in the Open Handicap over 1000 metres.

Weona Smartone was expected to run in last month’s Group 3 George Moore Stakes at Doomben but Vandyke dodged the feature and sent him to the Gold Coast where he only just prevailed over the Les Kelly-trained Elixir on a rain-affected track.

It was his eighth win from nine starts with his only defeat coming at his first start.

“I wasn’t disappointed with his last run as he got chopped out at the start and he fought on well,” Vandyke said.

“He’s well placed and gets in nicely in an Open race so he should be hard to beat.”

Vandyke said neither Desert Lord nor Weona Smartone would head to Sydney for the autumn with stablemate Gypsy Goddess who is being aimed at the Group 1 Australian Oaks at Randwick.