Sunday 21 January 2018

Gordon to lord it at the Curragh again

Gordon Lord Byron with Wayne Lordan
Gordon Lord Byron with Wayne Lordan
Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

After finally breaking his Curragh duck last month, Tom Hogan's sensational globe-trotter Gordon Lord Byron is fancied to justify nap billing back at headquarters tomorrow.

The ultimate example of racing's rags-to-riches ideal, the €2,000 yearling couldn't be sold and spent a year on the sidelines after fracturing its pelvis when pulled up on its 2010 Roscommon debut.

Gordon Lord Byron has since won Group One races in France, England and Australia, although it took him seven attempts across four years to conquer the Curragh plains.

He did so in grand style last month, drawing readily clear in a six-furlong Listed race under Wayne Lordan.

That form has stood up well, with the third Line Of Reason beaten narrowly by Out Do at York last week and the fourth Russian Soul a smooth Dundalk winner off a mark of 100 the following day.

Gordon Lord Byron reappears in the Group Three Friarstown Stud Minstrel Stakes over seven furlongs.

It is a hot €65,000 affair, with Ger Lyons' smart three-year-old Convergence in opposition, along with Dandy Nicholls' Sovereign Debt - third to Convergence at Leopardstown prior to skating up in a Listed race here.

Plenty of others have chances too, but the return to this trip is expected to render Gordon Lord Byron a formidable rival.

In nine completed starts at the distance, his form figures read 221122129, the latter defeat coming on his March return in Hong Kong.

His outings over seven include his 2012 Prix de la Foret success at Longchamp, two subsequent runner-up finishes in the specialist Group One and last year's memorable triumph at the highest level in Australia.

In short, this is arguably Gordon Lord Byron's optimum trip, but a lack of suitable opportunities means that he doesn't get to race over it as much as connections would like.

With that in mind, he is expected to concede weight all round tomorrow. The Group Two Kilboy Estate Stakes that follows is the day's most valuable race with a prize fund of €115,000.

Dermot Weld's Brooch has to give weight away in this after her slightly disappointing defeat in the Pretty Polly, while Ed Walker's Mutatis Mutandis is the highest rated of three cross-channel raiders.

However, a chance is taken on Raydara fulfilling her potential in the nine-furlong contest. Mick Halford's Aga Khan three-year-old beat Lucida and Qualify in a similar race here last year.

She couldn't match that level of performance on her return in the Irish 1,000 Guineas, but she wasn't disgraced in finishing nearly seven lengths behind Pleascach.

If Raydara comes on for that, she ought to have a big say under Shane Foley.

In the fillies' mile handicap, Prunella Dobbs' Gallope can thwart Katie T over a trip that might be on the sharp side for Kevin Prendergast's dual-purpose star, while at Tipperary Willie Mullins' Daisy's Gift appeals on stepping up to three miles under Ruby Walsh in the conditions hurdle.

Indo Sport

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