Karl Burke has a spring 2000 Guineas trial in mind for his promising three-year-old Lord Of The Lodge.
The colt, who finished second behind Richard Hannon’s Threat in last season’s Gimcrack Stakes, made a winning seasonal return at Newcastle on Wednesday.
Contesting the Ladbrokes Where The Nation Plays Conditions Stakes at Gosforth Park, the son of Dandy Man denied Charlie Fellowes’ Amarillo Star by a length and three-quarters to claim victory on his first run away from turf.
The win secures him fast-track qualification for the All-Weather Finals Day at Lingfield on Good Friday, with Burke now considering a run in the Three Year Old All-Weather Championships Conditions Stakes should turf conditions prove to be too soft.
“We were delighted with the run as he’d only done two gallops beforehand, so there’s plenty of improvement as well,” the Middleham-based trainer said.
“It was a bit of an afterthought to run him in the race (at Newcastle), but there aren’t many six-furlong sprints for three-year-olds and there is little to run him in before the Guineas trials that won’t be run on soft ground. He ran badly on soft ground at Newbury (in July), so we were a bit snookered really.
“Now he’s won this and he’s qualified for Lingfield, we have that option. We’d be looking at the Guineas trials next, but that would be ground dependent, if not we’ve got the option of Lingfield.”
Burke highlighted Newbury’s Greenham Stakes as as potential target for the colt.
“Newbury is one option,” he said.
“Even though he ran his worst race there, I think that was the ground rather than the track. He would also handle the undulations of Newmarket, so we’ll just play it by ear and be led by the ground.”
Whatever the next step, Burke intends to remain on home turf with the three-year-old with a pencilled-in trip to Dubai’s Meydan track looking unlikely.
“He’s got an entry at Meydan in a six-furlong sprint,” he said.
“But I think that would be a very tough assignment for a Northern Hemisphere horse against the top-class sprinters.”