Dubai World Cup 2022: A cracker of Dubai Turf contest ends in dead heat

This is a first in the 26-year history of the race that began life as the Dubai Duty Free Stakes

By Leslie Wilson Jr

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Published: Sat 26 Mar 2022, 9:37 PM

Last updated: Sat 26 Mar 2022, 10:26 PM

Neither the state-of-the-art cameras positioned at the finish, nor the magnifying glasses of the adjudicators in the judge’s room could separate the first two homes in the $5 (Dh18.37) million Dubai Turf, a race that boasts a history of heart-stopping finishes.

With some of the best middle-distance horses competing in the 1,800-metre contest, the Dubai Turf was always expected to deliver a corker and it did not disappoint a crowd packed to the rafters at Meydan.

Then after an excruciating wait that left the connections of both Lord North and Panthalassa gnawing at their fingertips, the.judges declared the contest a dead heat. This is a first in the 26-year history of the race that began life as the Dubai Duty Free Stakes.

Lord North, trained by the father and son duo of John and Thady Gosden, was bidding to win the race for the second year in succession having won the contest 12 months ago by a comfortable margin of three lengths.

He bled after that race and needed time to recover before reappearing in the Winter Derby at Lingfield racecourse in February. But the Gosdens showed their mastery of nursing horses back to form as Lord North ran an absolute cracker under Frankie Dettori to share the spoils with long-time race leader Panthalassa and jockey Yutaka Yoshida.

It brought up a fifth success of the night for Japan who was winning the Dubai Turf for sixth time after Admire Moon (2007), Just A Way (2014), Real Steel (2016), Vivlos (2017) and Almond Eye (2019).

Vin de Garde, also from Japan, finished third in the dead heat. As Vin De Garde’s name showed third, the photo for the top pair remained and jockey Frankie Dettori let out a rip-roaring scream as he was led back to the walking ring. A dead heat was eventually declared, the second time such an outcome has occurred in the Dubai Turf, the first coming back in 2004 between Right Approach and Paolini.

Lord North, the six-year-old son of Dubawi, was an easy winner of the 2021 edition of the Dubai Turf but this year had to work and grind to get his nose in the photo. Panthalassa, a five-year-old son of Lord Kanaloa, continued the hits for the Japanese contingent. His jockey Yutaka Yoshida was able to set early fractions of :24.29 and 47.06 while being chased by Colonel Liam and Desert Fire. The pace quickened a bit and after 1200 metres in 1:09.66 the real running picked up as the closers began to gain. Desperately seeking the wire, Panthalassa dug back down and got his head on the line at the same time as Lord North in a final running time of 1:45.77.

Yoshito Yahagi, trainer of joint-winner Panthalassa, said: “Usually when he runs, he takes the lead and really runs off with the race. We thought he was going to go a little bit further out wide than he did, but he really held on until the end. He’s always been a good starter, so we weren’t too worried about the draw.

“We’ve had a lot of good luck today, so we didn’t think we’d lose! I’ve never known a wait like that in a photo finish.”

He added: “As the Japanese racehorse level has increased over the years, I’ve been proud to showcase it on the global stage.

“This was his first time running this well on firm ground and in the past, he’s run well on softer ground, so taking him over to Europe is high on his to-do list. We'd like to head to Royal Ascot for the Prince of Wales's Stakes.”


Yutaka Yoshida, rider of joint-winner Panthalassa, said: “It was a very good run from my horse, and he did all that I asked of him and only just managed to hold on in the end. This was a very good run from him. I am happy.”

As he awaited the photo finish verdict, Lord North's rider Frankie Dettori said: “I thought I was beaten on the line so I will settle for a dead heat if it's available. He had half the year off, he almost died last year so to get him back to performing at this level, it is a great credit to the team. He gave me everything he had so I can't ask for anything more.

"Once the result was announced, Dettori said: “What an amazing achievement by everyone and this horse, he's just a fighter. Very few horses can do what he's done and come back to win the Dubai Turf for the second time. What a horse.”

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