Jockey Craig Williams believes that the 2014 T.J. Smith Stakes is the right race for Gordon Lord Byron and is confident that the Irish-trained galloper is a genuine winning chance in the $2.5 million Group 1 event at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Both the T.J. Smith Stakes and the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) were options for Gordon Lord Byron after he won the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 29, but trainer Tom Hogan elected to set the Byron gelding for the weight-for-age sprint rather than force him to carry the top-weight of 58 kilograms in the handicap event.
Gordon Lord Byron has previously performed well over sprinting distances as well as a mile, but Williams told TVN that he is confident that the T.J. Smith Stakes is the better option for the triple Group 1 winner.
“I’m very comfortable that Tom has made the right decision,” Williams said.
“He is much better suited at the weight-for-age conditions of the TJ.”
Gordon Lord Byron was positioned towards the middle of the field in the George Ryder Stakes before working home strongly with a run on the rails, but Williams said that he could ride the six-year-old closer in the T.J. Smith Stakes this weekend.
Williams said that Gordon Lord Byron took up the running when he scored his second win at Group 1 level in the Sprint Cup (1207m) at Haydock on September 7 last year and the leading Melbourne jockey believes that the Tom Hogan-trained gelding has the tactical speed required to do the same thing on Saturday.
“When you watch that race it was very impressive,” Williams said of Gordon Lord Byron’s Sprint Cup win.
“He’s not just a horse that gets back and runs on.
“He dominated that six furlong race at Haydock; he took the lead a long way out and controlled the race.”
The 2014 T.J. Smith Stakes field will be released after midday this morning and the barrier draw will be conducted at Royal Randwick this evening.
Gordon Lord Byron is currently on the fourth line of 2014 T.J. Smith Stakes betting markets, at odds of $3.50, behind Newmarket Handicap winner Lankan Rupee, Robert Heathcote-trained Buffering ($6) and talented colt Zoustar ($8).