Monday 18 December 2017

Hogan expects Gordon Lord Byron to cope well with competitive field

Secret Brief (left) ridden by William Buick beats Bravo Zolo to win the Betway Lincoln at Doncaster Photo: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire
Secret Brief (left) ridden by William Buick beats Bravo Zolo to win the Betway Lincoln at Doncaster Photo: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire newsdesk

Tom Hogan is looking forward to getting Gordon Lord Byron back on the course in the Big Bad Bob Gladness Stakes at the Curragh this afternoon.

The Tipp trainer expects his evergreen globetrotter to benefit for his first start since November having had to abort a couple of planned outings at Dundalk and Cork.

The eight-year-old, winner of three Group Ones in an illustrious career, takes on eight younger rivals in this Group Three heat over seven furlongs.

"He'll benefit from the run, but he's in very good form," said Hogan. "I'm expecting a good performance from him.

"He's happy enough with soft ground, or heavy, as long as it's loose. I think the ground will be OK for him but it's quite a competitive race."

Connections of the Tommy Stack-trained Onenightidreamed are happy to bring the five-year-old back to the track just two weeks after his first run since May.

That came in the Irish Lincoln, which he had won 12 months earlier but was burdened with top weight. Nevertheless, Onenightidreamed shaped encouragingly as he put his best work in at the finish to finish seventh to Paul Deegan's Sruthan, which is also in this line-up.

"The weather forecast is not too bad for him so he should appreciate any rain," said Stack's son and assistant, Fozzy. "It was a big ask in the Irish Lincoln, he had a lot of weight but didn't run too bad. He seems to have come out of the race well."

Endless Drama is a fascinating contender from the Ger Lyons stable, having his first start since filling second place to Gleneagles in the Irish 2,000 Guineas.

Gleneagles' trainer Aidan O'Brien is three-handed with Cougar Mountain, Dick Whittington and The Happy Prince, while the field is completed by the Jim Bolger-trained Flight Risk and Dermot Weld's Joailliere.

Meanwhile, Smashing gave a brave front-running display to deny Road To Riches in the Webster Cup Chase at Navan. Henry de Bromhead's grey was making amends for a poor run in the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham where he was pulled up on quick ground.

He won his previous three starts in the style of a progressive chaser and he got back on track running on his favoured soft ground. Road To Riches had finished third in the Ryanair and was sent off the 4/5 favourite to go two places better.

Hard though he tried, he could not overtake Smashing (9/4) which kept on pulling out more for Johnny Burke to get the verdict by half a length. Foxrock looked well beaten at the final fence but ran on to get close to the two principals at the line.

Secret Brief came with a rattling run inside the final furlong and a half to claim the Betway Lincoln at Doncaster.

Wearing the Godolphin colours, the four-year-old responded to William Buick's urgings to win the first big handicap of the new turf season for trainer Charlie Appleby.

Secret Brief (12/1), which had a spell in Dubai during the winter, got the better of a terrific duel with Ryan Moore on Bravo Zolo (12/1) to prevail by a neck. Battle Of Marathon (50/1) claimed third place, another half a length away, with Birdman (14/1) staying on strongly for fourth.

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