Gordon Lord Byron returns to winning ways at the Curragh
Published 27/06/2015 | 17:38
Gordon Lord Byron got his season back on track with a determined display in the Dubai Duty Free Dash on Derby day at the Curragh.
Tom Hogan's multiple Group One-winning sprinter suffered an injury in Hong Kong earlier in the year and failed to fire in last month's Greenlands Stakes or last week's Diamond Jubilee at Royal Ascot.
Sent off at 100-30 back in Listed class, the seven-year-old was settled in behind horses by Wayne Lordan before being produced to challenge for the lead a furlong down.
British raider Line Of Reason, a winner at Cork a fortnight ago, came with a run down the outside of the field, but Gordon Lord Byron was not for passing and came home with something to spare.
It was the veteran's first victory in Ireland in almost two years and his 12th career success overall.
Balmont Mast pipped Line Of Reason to the runner-up spot.
Hogan said: "It's nice to win at the Curragh as he does a lot of his work here, but it is the first time he has won at the Curragh. Every time he has come here before something went wrong.
"I wasn't worried about the ground. Firm ground doesn't bother him, it's only dead, sticky ground that he can't handle. I was afraid they would not go much of a pace but they did and he quickened away nicely.
"He may come back here for the Minstrel Stakes, we'll give the July Cup a miss, and he can go on his travels then.
"He ran too fresh at Ascot, he hit the gate and ran with the choke out, and it was a great run in hindsight. He needs a run every three weeks or else he gets too fresh like at Ascot.
"He could go to France for the Prix Maurice de Gheest and he'll go to Haydock for the Sprint Cup for sure."
Final Frontier justified significant market support with a most impressive debut in the Dubai Duty Free Finest Surprise European Breeders Fund Maiden at the Curragh.
The handsome son of Dream Ahead was sent off a well-backed 15-8 favourite for the opener on Derby day, with Shane Foley doing the steering for Jessica Harrington.
Final Frontier was buried in the middle of the pack for the first half of the six-furlong journey before being angled wider to mount his challenge inside the last quarter-mile.
Aspar kicked for home against the rail in a bid to give Tommy Stack a third successive win in this race, but he had no answer when Final Frontier swept by and galloped on strongly for an emphatic four-and-a-half-length success.
Fantastic Secret was best of the rest in third.
Harrington said: "I thought he was a nice horse. He was working well with Rockaway Valley and I was hoping he'd come here and do that.
"He's entered in a few races, including the National Stakes, but we'll let the dust settle until later in the day and see what happens. He seemed to stay that six furlongs very well.
"He was pretty professional about it and when Shane asked him to go he did."
There was a thrilling climax to the Dubai Duty Free Jumeirah Creekside Summer Fillies Handicap, with Colour Blue (6-1) fending off the late surge of Military Angel.
The hat-trick seeking Maontri cut out much of the running and briefly looked to have slipped the field passing the two-furlong marker.
However, the Willie McCreery-trained Colour Blue wore her down in the last 100 yards and then 5-1 favourite Military Angel finished with a rattle.
The two flashed by the post almost as one, but the judge called Colour Blue the winner by a short head under Connor King.
Byzantium was just a head away, narrowly denying the pacesetting Maontri third place.
McCreery said: "She's an honest little filly. She ran a blinder the last day and may have got there a bit early but she was travelling so well that Connor didn't have much option.
"She's a little fighter, although I suppose we were lucky it wasn't seven furlongs and 50 yards!
"I'd love to win a Listed race with her and she always tries her heart out."
Dandy Nicholls-trained British raider Sovereign Debt was a dominant winner of the Dubai Duty Free Full Of Surprises Celebration Stakes.
The six-year-old was a 9-2 shot having run with credit in Ireland on his last couple of starts, finishing fifth in the Gladness at this track and third in the Ballycorus Stakes at Leopardstown.
Sovereign Debt was positioned close to the speed from the off by Chris Hayes and after being sent on from the home turn, quickly put the race to bed.
The grey was kept up to his work in the final furlong and came home four and three-quarter lengths clear of Flight Risk, with the front-running Fastnet Mist third.
War Envoy was the odds-on favourite after winning the Britannia Stakes at Royal Ascot nine days ago, but although he made late headway, he failed to land a telling blow.
Nicholls said: "He's had a lot of traffic problems in the past and I just told Chris to make up his own mind on how to ride him. He gave him a great ride and maybe that's the best way to ride him.
"I brought him over myself and he travelled over really well, ate up everything and he was so relaxed.
"He'll come back here again and deserves to go for all those races now.
"He'll go to Dubai at the end of the year."