Lonhro Ready to Meet Northerly

Lonhro is likely to have taken a step closer to a confrontation with Australia's leading Thoroughbred, Northerly, with a facile win in the $250,000 (Australian funds) Chipping Norton Stakes (Aust-I) at Sydney's Warwick Farm March 15.

The 4-year-old son of 1997 Chipping Norton winner Octagonal collected his fourth group I success like it was a stroll in the park. The 1-4 elect cruised to the lead in the stretch and although Shogun Lodge produced his trademark finish to get within 1 1/4 lengths at the wire, it was no measure of the winner's superiority.

This contest was over well before the regulation 1,600 meters in a slow 1:37.93 -- due to a slightly rain-affected track as well as delusory fractions by the third-placed Dress Circle, who missed second by a long neck.

A lack of pace played against Shogun Lodge, the winner of $4.5 million now the owner of a round one dozen second prizes at group I, a level the 6-year-old has succeeded at three times.

Lonhro has amassed almost $2.6 million for his breeder/owners Jack and Bob Ingham. The future Woodlands stallion has won 16 of 22 races, 15 of the wins in group company.

Darren Beadman partnered Octagonal in most of the Zabeel first crop son's 14 wins before entering the Ingham-owned Woodlands. He is also the regular rider of Lonhro, the son tending not to cut things so fine.

Lonhro was part of a double for his parents on March 15. Shadea's next foal after Octagonal yielded the 2 year-old Niello, a second-start winner of the Kindergarten Stakes (Aust-III) two races before Lonhro's star turn.

Mid-March is the time for wearing of the green, but the dominant color of this day was the Ingham's cerise, the haul five winners at Crown Lodge's home track for $357,500 net.

The media is sweating on trainer John Hawkes announcing that the next task for Lonhro will be the Rawson Stakes over 2,000 meters of Rosehill on March 29. That race marks the Sydney debut of Northerly, fresh from an also easy ninth group I in the Australian Cup on March 10.