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PROGRESS: Lord North

PROGRESS: Lord North

PROGRESS: Lord North

Lord North could be the value call in a mouth-watering renewal of the Juddmonte International at York.

While the grandstands will not be packed to the rafters as is usually the case for the Ebor Festival, the action on the track appears no less competitive, with the day-one feature in particular an absolute cracker.

Charlie Appleby's Ghaiyyath is the hot favourite - and rightly so, with his successive top-level victories in the Coronation Cup at Newmarket and the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown both hugely impressive.

However, Coronation Cup runner-up Anthony Van Dyck did little for the form at Royal Ascot - and while the third home Stradivarius has since cemented his status as a legendary stayer, a mile and a half at Newmarket was never going to be his bag.

Ghaiyyath's defeat of the wonder-mare Enable looks superb on paper. But by John Gosden's admission, the latter was nowhere near her peak that day and not thrown into the heat of the battle as a result, so the form may not be as good as it looked.

The Godolphin-owned runner may well prove himself the best 10-furlong horse in training on the Knavesmire - but at only a fraction of odds against, there are enough reasons to look elsewhere.

Gosden's Lord North has progressed from a high-class handicapper to a top-drawer performer in less 12 months, with connections crediting his improvement to a gelding operation that has changed his state of mind. The son of Dubawi stepped up big time from his narrow defeat of Elarqam on his seasonal reappearance at Haydock with a demolition job in the Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot, displaying a sizzling turn of foot to leave his rivals trailing in his wake.

The Juddmonte International has been Lord North's primary objective ever since, and he arrives nicely freshened following a two-month break.

Ghaiyyath will be expected to make most of the running, but he may be powerless to resist Lord North's finishing kick.

Gosden may also land the Sky Bet Great Voltigeur Stakes with the lightly raced but hugely exciting Darain.

The three-year-old is bred to be a superstar as a son of Dubawi out of top-class race mare Dar Re Mi, making him a full-brother to Too Darn Hot, So Mi Dar and Lah Ti Dar. That blue-blooded pedigree prompted Qatar Racing's David Redvers to go to 3.5million guineas to secure Darain as a yearling, and he has made a foot-perfect start to his career with runaway victories at Newbury and Newmarket.

He undoubtedly faces a far sterner test as he goes in search of his hat-trick, but the potential is immense.

Appleby's Cloudbridge gets the nod in the Group Three Tattersalls Acomb Stakes.

The Newmarket handler's juveniles tend to improve significantly from their first competitive outing, so this son of American stallion Hard Spun deserves extra credit for winning so impressively on his introduction at Leicester two and a half weeks ago.

The subsequent Haydock success of the third-placed horse at Leicester, River Alwen, gives the form some substance.


Today's selections

BATH: 3.25 Teddy B, 3.55 City Walk, 4.30 Moonraker, 5.00 Delagate The Lady, 5.30 Hedging, 6.00 Wrath Of Hector, 6.30 Mark Of Gold, 7.00 My Brother Mike, 7.30 Clog Na Fola, 8.00 Menin Gate.

KILLARNEY: 1.00 Snowy Owl, 1.30 Apricot Rose, 2.00 Myrcella, 2.30 Isotope, 3.00 Mere Catherine, 3.30 Kalakaua, 4.05 Barbados, 4.40 Vita Veritas.

SLIGO: 1.50 Shewearsitwell, 2.20 She'stherightone, 2.50 Hesamanofhisword, 3.20 Derby De Thaix, 3.50 My Manekineko, 4.25 In Your Shadow, 4.55 Ben Thomson.

STRATFORD: 1.35 Courtandbould, 2.05 Going Mobile, 2.35 Roar, 3.05 Ashutor, 3.35 Coillte Eile, 4.10 Road To Reward, 4.45 Say Nothing, 5.20 Dancing In The Sky, 5.50 Bravo Buddy.

YORK: 1.45 Tarboosh, 2.15 Cloudbridge, 2.45 Darain, 3.15 LORD NORTH (NAP), 3.45 Volcanic Sky, 4.20 Keep Busy, 4.50 Toussarok.

double: Darain and Lord North.

Herald