Byron is capable of lording it
Tom Hogan is under no illusions about the task facing Gordon Lord Byron in the At The Races Phoenix Sprint at the Curragh this afternoon.
There is little doubt the three-times Group One winner has regressed slightly since his glory days, but he has been running consistently well this season, bagging a Group Two success along the way in the Greenlands Stakes over the course and distance in May.
The penalty he incurred for that victory means he must concede weight to each of his 10 rivals in this Group Three event, but Hogan is nevertheless confident of a bold show.
"He seems in great form. I suppose it's a tough enough ask, giving weight to everything in the field, but he's well used to it at this stage," said the County Tipperary-based trainer.
"It was a muddling race the last day in the Minstrel Stakes (finished fourth). They went no pace and it turned into a sprint and he got caught a bit flat footed.
"We've been very happy with him since and so long as there's a true pace, I'm sure he'll run very well again."
While Gordon Lord Byron is in the twilight of his career at the age of nine, the three-year-old Son Of Rest is very much at the other end of the scale.
Fozzy Stack's youngster has run just five times, winning twice, and dominated his rivals in a premier handicap here in June.
Stack feels his charge may prefer softer ground than he is likely to encounter this weekend, but is keen to let him take his chance to ensure he is at his best for the Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes back at the track on September 10.
"We'll see what the ground is like on the day," said Stack. "But we want to get a run into him before Irish Champions Weekend if we can. The horse is in very good form, we're very happy with him at home, so we'll see what happens."
Another exciting three-year-old in the field is Sheila Lavery's Mr Scarlet. The gelded son of Dandy Man has bumped into Caravaggio on his last two starts, most recently when finishing a fine fifth in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot.
"Mr Scarlet is in good form and we will know after Sunday where we stand," Lavery said. "If he improves from his last run behind Caravaggio then he should run a really big race.
"His preparation has been as I would have wanted it. He's in great form, so fingers crossed."
Aidan O'Brien is represented by Cougar Mountain, Washington DC and Intelligence Cross.
Richard Fahey saddles Kimberella and Mr Lupton, with that pair joined on the trip from Britain by the Hugo Palmer-trained Koropick.
Eddie Lynam's Moviesta and Khukri from Jessica Harrington's yard make up the field.
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