Tuesday 27 September 2016

Hogan hopes star speedster can lord it at Haydock

Thomas Kelly

Published 11/08/2015 | 02:30

Gordon Lord Byron and trainer Tom Hogen during day two of the Irish Derby Festival at the Curragh Racecourse
Gordon Lord Byron and trainer Tom Hogen during day two of the Irish Derby Festival at the Curragh Racecourse

Tom Hogan is looking forward to seeing Gordon Lord Byron bid to regain his crown in next month's Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock after another fine effort in France on Sunday.

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The seven-year-old proved he is as good as ever in the Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville, going down by a length to this season's star sprinter Muhaarar. The pair could clash again on Merseyside on September 5 in a race Gordon Lord Byron won in 2013 and finished second in last year and in 2012.

"He ran pretty well up to his best form," said Hogan. "We know he's capable of getting placed in these races and if we keep having a poke with him, hopefully one might come his way.

"He was racing away from them in the middle of the track and when he hit the front, because he's getting on a bit, he thinks he's done enough.

"I don't want to put cheekpieces on him as he's so genuine. He just likes to get up close and personal with the other horses and if he can do that he'll give them a battle.

"He was beaten by the best sprinter in Europe and we're happy to take him on again. If we're second to him again, we'll be happy. Haydock is still very much the plan."

The horse which beat Gordon Lord Byron on his previous outing at the Curragh, Home Of The Brave, will head for the Hungerford Stakes at Newbury on Saturday, according to his trainer Hugo Palmer.

The Newmarket handler reports that his classy three-year-old to have taken his victory in the Minstrel Stakes in his stride and all roads now lead to the Newbury Group Two over seven furlongs after 24 horses were left in.

One-time Classic hope Richard Pankhurst could make a belated reappearance in the race. Godolphin bought into John Gosden's colt after his runaway victory in last year's Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot, but he has not been seen since.

The seven-furlong event should offer a proper test of his mettle, with Godolphin's Safety Check and Toormore among the entries, along with the Henry Candy-trained Limato and Aidan O'Brien's Britannia Stakes winner War Envoy.

Meanwhile, Robert Thornton, 37, who has not ridden since April 2014 because of a neck injury, is hoping to make a belated comeback.

"I'm aiming for the autumn," he said. "I'm not able to ride out at the minute. There are one or two complications, but hopefully I'll overcome them."

Irish Independent

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