Tom Hogan had his first look at Gordon Lord Byron, since he arrived in Australia, at Canterbury this morning and the Irish trainer could not have been happier with the physical condition of the two-time Group 1 winner ahead of his Australian racing debut in the 2014 George Ryder Stakes at Rosehill Gardens this weekend.
Gordon Lord Byron has impressed connections with the way that he has settled since arriving in Australia and Hogan told Sky Racing HQ that he was most impressed with the trackwork performance of the son of Byron at Canterbury this morning.
“He is looking tremendous and he is in great order,” Hogan said.
“He looks in great shape and is very well in himself.
“The track is in absolutely wonder condition, it is a beautiful track, and the surface is gorgeous.
“The horse just did three quarter speed for about seven furlongs and quickened for the last furlong, just to blow out the cobwebs.”
Gordon Lord Byron has been included in the nominations for both the Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) and Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) during The Championships, but Hogan is leaning towards running the gelding in the T.J. Smith Stakes.
Hogan admits that he is unsure how Gordon Lord Byron will perform against an extremely strong 2014 George Ryder Stakes field this weekend and is hoping that the run does not take too much energy out of the six-year-old ahead of the T.J. Smith Stakes at Royal Randwick on April 12.
“We don’t know,” Hogan said when asked how he thinks Gordon Lord Byron will perform on Saturday.
“He looks great, Kate (O’Brien) is happy with him, Craig (Williams) rode him in a piece of work down in Werribee and he was happy with him.
“He has two runs in a fortnight and I don’t want to kill the head off him for this first run, but I think that he is near enough to spot-on.
“We will find out on Saturday.”
Trainers and jockeys in Sydney are preparing for a wet track in Sydney this weekend and Hogan does not believe that a soft track will be a problem for his star galloper.
Gordon Lord Byron has recorded two wins from eight starts on soft or heavy tracks in Europe, including his maiden Group 1 victory in the Qatar Prix De La Foret (1400m) in France, and Hogan said that he will not be bothered by the Australian equivalent of a slow track.
“He doesn’t mind a bit of give,” Hogan said.
“He wouldn’t want really heavy ground, but you are not going to get that over here.
“He has run well on good to firm and all types.”
Gordon Lord Byron is currently available at 2014 George Ryder Stakes odds of $21; with Red Tracer ($3.90) currently a narrow favourite from stablemate Boban ($4.20).