Wayne Lordan retains faith in Gordon Lord Byron ahead of Haydock Sprint Cup
Big-race jockey Wayne Lordan believes Gordon Lord Byron is the "one to beat" in Saturday's Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock.
Tom Hogan's pride and joy was a decisive winner of the Merseyside Group One in 2013 and was runner-up behind G Force in last year's renewal and Society Rock in 2012.
The seven-year-old has had mixed results so far this season, winning a Listed race at the Curragh and finishing a fantastic third in the Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville on his penultimate start, but he was a slightly disappointing third on his most recent appearance in the Renaissance Stakes.
Lordan feels the stronger pace Gordon Lord Byron is likely to encounter at the weekend will bring out the best in his mount.
"He's a fantastic horse and every day he goes racing he gives us everything. I'm really looking forward to riding him again," the jockey told At The Races.
"He likes the track so hopefully he can give a good account of himself.
"When he won the race it was pretty soft and it was soft last year. They're calling the ground good and I wouldn't think that's an issue for him either.
"My fellow is a good yardstick, so hopefully he is the one to beat."
Reflecting on his last run, Lordan said: " We didn't go too mad and quickened up from three (furlongs) out. He needs a very good, strong pace - that's why he runs well in the top-class races.
"He finished third, Moviesta won the race and he's not a bad horse on his day."
Gordon Lord Byron features in a maximum field of 17 runners, with the Henry Candy-trained Limato a significant absentee on account of the ground. The only other horse not declared is outsider Markaz.
Limato's defection means Candy relies on the unbeaten Twilight Son, who takes a significant step up in class in the hands of Fergus Sweeney.
Sweeney said: "My horse is obviously stepping up in class significantly, but he did it really well last time at York and Mr Candy knows his sprinters. He wouldn't be in there if he didn't think he could hold his own
"He's a horse that is very workmanlike, even at home. He's never magnificent in his work and just does what he has to do, so you never quite know what you've got in the tank.
"He's definitely better with a bit of cut in the ground."
Gordon Lord Byron is joined on the trip from Ireland by the Aidan O'Brien-trained Due Diligence and Eddie Lynam's multiple Group One winner Sole Power, who will be ridden by Chris Hayes.
Last year's winner G Force is one of two runners for David O'Meara, with the Nawton maestro also saddling Watchable, while Tim Easterby's Mattmu is another formidable Yorkshire challenger.
Other major contenders include Mick Appleby's Danzeno, the William Haggas-trained Adaay, John Gosden's hat-trick seeker Waady and Stewards' Cup hero Magical Memory from Charlie Hills' yard.