Lethal Force can deliver at generous odds
TOM HOGAN'S durable stable star Gordon Lord Byron is the layers' idea of the main threat to this term's sprinting revelation Lethal Force in Haydock's Sprint Cup.
With an insatiable Johnny Murtagh booked to steer, the sensible thing might be to row in behind the classy flag-bearer for Hogan's Nenagh-based stable.
Nonetheless, there is very little in the way of empirical evidence to suggest that Gordon Lord Byron has the range of gears required to win a Group One over a bare six furlongs.
His best effort in the grade came in this last year, when Society Rock produced a telling burst to see him off late on. It was a gallant turn, but two subsequent efforts at the trip at this level this year have both resulted in over four-length defeats.
Last time out, Gordon Lord Byron was typically brave when scoring over a mile at Leopardstown.
However, he had to work hard to see off inferior opposition there, and you could argue that he needed all of the journey to exert his authority.
As such, while he will doubtless be thereabouts again, there are better value options available here. The pick of them might even be Lethal Force, as odds of 5/2 are far from skimpy about a horse that has firmly established itself in the highest echelon.
Second to Society Rock on its seasonal bow, Clive Cox's charge emphatically turned the tables on that one when storming to victory in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot.
He followed up with a similarly stylish front-running rout of the July Cup field, before coming up just short against Moonlight Cloud in the Prix Maurice de Gheest, when Gordon Lord Byron was behind him for a third time this year.
That was a commendable turn from Lethal Force, one that was franked by Moonlight Cloud denying Olympic Glory to land its fifth Group One in the Marois, when York's International hero Declaration Of War was back in fourth. Strangely, some felt that his Deauville run was a flat display in comparison to his previous two dazzling wins.
In Lethal Force's defence, though, he was beaten by a good horse and it may have been that, in trying to conserve energy from the front on his return to the near seven-furlong trip, Adam Kirby allowed Moonlight Cloud an opportunity to get at him.
Back over his optimum trip, then, on the proviso that the forecast good ground doesn't deteriorate, Lethal Force is strongly fancied to win at a generous price that might have much to do with his not being trained by one of the game's marquee names.
Of the rest, Eddie Lynam's Slade Power is worth keeping on-side for an each-way wager.
Wayne Lordan's mount broke badly in the Nunthorpe and needs to improve, but he has the scope to do so on his return to this longer distance.
In the day's big handicap, the Old Borough Cup, Clowance Estate might tee up Roger Charlton for Al Kazeem's swing at Leopardstown's feature with a victory under the excellent Graham Lee.
This one-mile-six-furlong contest is an absolute gem of a race on paper, with a raft of progressive sorts due to clash with a few elder regulars. Clowance Estate falls into the former bracket, a Teofilo four-year-old with just five career starts to his name.
Successful on his debut at three and on his reappearance this term, he has held his own in good handicaps, with rain-softened ground blunting his impact over this sort of distance lately.
Still, there was a lot to like about his recent Newmarket third and he has the potential to exploit his current rating here if the ground doesn't turn.
Course winner Glory Awaits also appeals in the Superior Mile.
The re-opposing Montiridge and Tawhid finished in front of Kevin Ryan's colt at Goodwood, but there would have been less in it had Glory Awaits not been hampered late on. He isn't without a chance of reversing the placings on a track that suits his front-running style.
Best Bet: Lethal Force