Breeders' Cup International Scouting Report: Lord North

December 31st, 2020

Hero of the “Win and You’re In” Prince of Wales’s (G1) in a breakout performance at Royal Ascot, Lord North flopped on bottomless ground last out. Now the son of Dubawi looks to resume his upward trajectory in the Breeders' Cup Turf for John Gosden.

Campaigned by Sheikh Zayed bin Mohammed Racing, the Godolphin-bred is out of Najoum, twice a winner as a juvenile from four career starts. The Giant’s Causeway mare is a half to Bandini, from the prolific tribe of Rough Shod II via her champion daughter Moccasin, who shared the 1965 Horse of the Year title.

Lord North won his first two starts in promising fashion. His sole juvenile appearance came in an Oct. 2018 Redcar novice, and he looked just that when breaking hesitantly and getting his bearings at the back. But Lord North was quick on the uptake, for he soon traveled more confidently, maneuvered for the gap, and finished with a flourish.

He made his sophomore bow at Chelmsford, where he had just a single foe left after a couple of scratches, and it was a virtual no-contest. Going to the lead as the 1-6 favorite, Lord North widened his margin under a hand ride and geared down an 11-length winner.

Next came a proper class test in the 2019 Heron at Sandown, and Lord North was decidedly the yard’s 10-1 second- stringer with stablemate King of Comedy the 9-4 favorite. The market was correct as King of Comedy bounded home over Roseman, Sangarius, and Dark Vision in a fine renewal, while Lord North trailed. He was wrapped up on once meeting with traffic.

Shortly thereafter, Lord North was gelded and given the rest of the summer off. Gosden brought him back last September in a handicap down Ascot’s straight mile, and as the 9-4 choice, beat all bar Bless Him (the 2017 Britannia winner), who ran him down late.

That was his stepping stone to a course record-setting victory in Newmarket’s historic 1 1/8-mile handicap, the Cambridgeshire. Under a confident Frankie Dettori hand ride, Lord North was covered up in the pack before threading through, full of run, and galloping up the stands’ side in 1:46.99.

Back at a mile for Ascot’s lucrative handicap on Champions Day, the Balmoral, Lord North advanced smoothly into contention on the heavy going, but got outkicked late. He settled for second as the joint 134-pound highweight, and his handicap days were now behind him.

Lord North returned to listed company, and stepped up to 1 1/4 miles, for his sophomore finale in the James Seymour at Newmarket. The odds-on favorite stalked early leader Pablo Escobarr and dispatched him by an emphatic 2 1/4 lengths.

Picking up in 2020 right where he left off, Lord North proved himself at the Group level in the Brigadier Gerard (G3), which thanks to COVID was shifted to Haydock on June 7. Favored Elarqam was the one to beat on 2019 form, and he also controlled the pace in the 1 1/4-mile test. But Lord North traveled like a dream, quickened past him in short order, and held off a resurgent Elarqam at the wire.

Off that evidence, Gosden made a last-minute decision to throw the improving 4-year-old into the June 17 Prince of Wales’s, and Lord North made good with a stellar rally from the tail of the field. He split ring-rusty favorite Japan and Barney Roy, and blew by Addeybb to win going away by 3 3/4 lengths.

Although Lord North’s streak was halted by a third in the Aug. 19 Juddmonte International (G1), the top two were Ghaiyyath and Magical. Moreover, the way he traveled on the bridle in the stretch, only to get outpaced before staying on again, implied he might appreciate more ground. He checked in just 1 1/4 lengths behind Magical.

Lord North threw in a clunker in the Champion, but he did make a sweeping move into the stretch before weakening to last in the mud. Considering that he’d beaten eventual winner Addeybb handily over the same course and distance in the Prince of Wales’s, we know it’s no true bill.

This represents his first try at 1 1/2 miles, yet there’s precedent for horses capturing the Turf in their debut at the trip, most recently Bricks and Mortar last year. The 2020 Turf has greater strength in depth though, and Lord North must regain his early-season spark to get involved.