By Jordan Gerrans
A mix of cross training and being kept fresh has former Sydneysider Desert Lord loving life in the Sunshine State while racing in near career best form.
With in-form Sunshine Coast-based trainer David Vandyke since the middle of last year, the High Chaparral gelding has only been outside the money on one occasion from eight starts in Queensland, for four victories.
The former Team Hawkes galloper added the Listed Goldmarket on the Gold Coast to his resume late last week and will now turn his attention to the time-honoured Weetwood Handicap later this month.
While Vandyke was not overly keen to give away all the exact details of what has got Desert Lord back firing after a lean run in Sydney early last year, it has been a work in progress over the last 12 months to get his body right.
“It has been a bit of a juggling act because I have sort of changed the way I train him, as opposed to a standard horse,” Vandyke said.
“It is a bit of cross training, but I do not like to give away too many secrets.
“I keep him very fresh and that works for him mentally and it also helps with any arthritis he is dealing with.
“He has had three starts for me over 1200 metres and won them all.
“I am not in love with the idea of putting him up further in distance because I think while we are keeping him fresh and finishing off the way he is, we should not need to change anything as he has won a quarter of a million dollars since he has been up here.”
Now a seven-year-old, who has won eight from 26 career efforts, Vandyke was pleased on Friday at Aquis Park in the way Desert Lord showed a determination and eagerness to continue with his racing.
The Caloundra trainer noted that Desert Lord’s attitude gave his team at the stable a positive feeling that there is still good racing to come from him at his rising age.
The career earner of $441,530 now heads to the Darling Downs for the Listed Weetwood later in September.