Trainer Tom Hogan is thrilled with Gordon Lord Byron ahead of the 2014 T.J. Smith Stakes, but believes that his star galloper will need luck in running to take out the Group 1 event at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Gordon Lord Byron made his Australian racing debut in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 29 and was given a brilliant ride by Craig Williams; with the leading Melbourne hoop steering the son of Byron to a narrow win over Speediness.
Hogan told Sky Racing HQ that Craig Williams will need to produce another gem of a ride on Saturday, with Gordon Lord Byron receiving barrier 11 in the 2014 T.J. Smith Stakes barrier draw, and the leading Irish trainer believes that luck in running will play a key role in deciding the outcome of the $2.5 million event.
“I suppose it is a major concern in a 1200 metre around a bend; at home we wouldn’t run more than 12 or 14,” Hogan said.
“18 runners is a big of a concern.
“You need luck and running because you could easily run into traffic problems.
“He worked out his navigation very well in the last race and we will trust him to do the same again; he is the ultimate professional.
“We will need luck and running, but we are hopeful.”
While Hogan is worried about the large 2014 T.J. Smith Stakes field, he could not be happier with condition of Gordon Lord Byron and said that the six-year-old had come out of his George Ryder Stakes win in great shape.
Gordon Lord Byron will be dropping back in trip to 1200 metres on Saturday, but Hogan does not believe that will be an issue and said that the tough gelding has performed well when dropped back in trip throughout his racing career.
“He has done very well since,” Hogan said.
“He is in tip-top form, his skin is great, he looks great, he feels great and we have not killed him working him.
“We are very happy with his preparation.
“He won over a mile at Leopardstown on slow ground and he came back and won over 1200 metres at Haydock in possibly the best run of his life; he absolutely pulverized a stellar field that day.
“Hopefully we have him in as good a form on Saturday.”
Gordon Lord Byron is currently available at 2014 T.J. Smith Stakes odds of $8 and is on the third line of betting from Lankan Rupee ($3.80) and Buffering ($6).