Gordon Lord Byron bids to end famine at Curragh

Racing: Tom Hogan-trained veteran highest rated in field of nine for Phoenix Sprint Stakes

Craig Williams riding  Gordon Lord Byron in March 2014. Photograph:  Brendon Thorne/Getty Images

Craig Williams riding Gordon Lord Byron in March 2014. Photograph: Brendon Thorne/Getty Images

 

Gordon Lord Byron gets another chance to end a two-year winless streak in Friday’s Qatar Racing And Equestrian Club Phoenix Sprint Stakes at the Curragh.

Tom Hogan’s popular veteran counts three Group One wins among his 16 victories, but he has not managed to get his head in front since landing the Group Two Greenlands Stakes at the Curragh in May 2017.

However, despite his advancing years, the 11-year-old has been running consistently well in defeat this season, most recently finishing a creditable fourth in the Minstrel Stakes three weeks ago on what was his 100th career outing.

“He seems in very good form. He’s had a few trips to the beach since his last run and we’re very happy with him,” said Hogan.

“Whether it’s six or seven furlongs, it doesn’t seem to make much difference to him, but a good gallop is essential. If you see him making the running it won’t be good, so hopefully there’s plenty of pace on.”

Gordon Lord Byron is the highest-rated horse in a field of nine runners for Friday’s six-furlong Group Three, and is one of four course and distance winners along with Gordon Elliott’s Beckford, the Ger Lyons-trained Buffer Zone and Angelic Light from Michael O’Callaghan’s yard.

Renew rivalry

Jessica Harrington’s Servalan and Fozzy Stack’s Woody Creek renew rivalry after being separated by just a short-head when first and second in a Listed event at Naas a little over a fortnight ago.

Southern Horse (Jim Bolger), Gustavus Weston (Joe Murphy) and San Andreas (Aidan O’Brien) complete the line-up.

Connections of Siskin admit if the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh is run on soft ground then the red-hot favourite will be in unknown territory.

Heavy rain is forecast prior to the contest and to date the unbeaten son of First Defence has yet to race on anything worse than good ground.

With trainer Ger Lyons keen to win a Group One on home soil, Siskin looks his best chance to date of breaking his duck.

Siskin has been in good form, but obviously the weather will play a part in the race

He faces only four rivals, but they include Aidan O’Brien’s Royal Lytham, winner of the July Stakes at Newmarket, and Monarch of Egypt, second to Siskin in the Railway Stakes.

“The horse has been in good form, but obviously the weather will play a part in the race,” said Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager for Siskin’s owner, Khalid Abdullah.

“They are supposed to get monumental amounts of rain, so we’ll all be going into unknown territory on that front. The horse himself has been in good form and been pleasing Ger. This race has always been his plan since he won the Railway and there has been no reason to divert.

‘Small field’

“It may only be a small field, but it is a solid one. There’s no [Coventry Stakes winner] Arizona, but there’s still a July Stakes winner in there.”

O’Brien also runs Mount Fuji, with the field completed by John Murphy’s Think Big.

Murphy has been disheartened by the forecast for his son of Night of Thunder, whom he feels needs quick ground to be seen at his best.

“It looks like it’s going to be really soft and I think my lad wants it fast,” said Murphy.

“It might not suit any of them, you just don’t know. We’re gutted about the forecast.”

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