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Let's treasure Loder's ability while we still have the opportunity; James Willoughby on a sublime training talent nonpareil.

Byline: James Willoughby

THE EVRY cloud has a silver lining. Not every plan Sheikh Mohammed dreams up for David Loder comes off. Finally, however, Loder is off the leash, and with devastating effects.

Punters love Loder. He doesn't run horses over the wrong trip on purpose; he isn't interested in setting one up for a touch. He's been in blistering form all week at Newmarket - and for good measure he's also been banging them in `up north'.

The `shoeshine guys' say Loder is intent on going his own way next year. Who can blame him if he seeks a fresh challenge? The man has a massive talent for training racehorses, however, and it would be a crying shame if he spent the rest of his career running a stud farm.

You only have to look at Loder's horses to know he's the most switched-on trainer in town. They were bursting with good health at Newmarket this week, and seemed to share the quality of self-assurance that the trainer owns himself. Body language is just as important as physique when it comes to judging wellbeing.

And don't underestimate the tremendously positive effect Loder has on Frankie Dettori. Has anyone else noticed the zest which the Italian has this season? Dettori lacked his trademark vim during a staccato season last year, but he's riding as well as ever again now.

We all know he needs to be centre stage, and Loder regularly provides him with the quality rides he so needs.

Loder always has his horses ridden sensibly. Though many are held up, it is not uncommon for Dettori or supersub Jamie Spencer to make the running on one who needs a dig in the ribs. Jockeys ride better when they have confidence in their instructions, and Dettori embodies directness and conviction whenever he rides for Loder.

So it wasn't all doom and gloom at the Craven meeting, thanks to the Dynamic Duo. Though the established Classic trials came up short, at least there were two colts in the scarlet-and-white silks who enlivened the scene.

Desert Destiny, Thursday's impressive conditions stakes winner, and Tuesday's highly touted maiden victor Sabre d'Argent both looked upwardly mobile in a season that has been crying out for similar types.

It's just a shame that the former is to be supplemented for the French 2,000 Guineas, rather than make a return trip to Newmarket next month, so well did he handle the Dip.

The only question surrounding Loder's operation is how long can he keep it going? It is often said that trainers who have their big guns firing in spring will be spiked by midsummer. However, a perennial fast

start hardly constricts

John Dunlop's flow of


As a huge fan of Loder, I am certainly hoping that he can maintain the winners throughout the season, and that when it's over his employer makes him an offer he simply can't refuse.

Whatever it takes, don't let us lose Loder.


David Loder A terrific influence on Frankie Dettori
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Apr 19, 2003
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