Gordon Blitzes Sprint Cup Field
1 Gordon Lord Byron 7/2
Gordon Lord Byron went one better this time after his narrow defeat 12 months ago when running away with the Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock.
The Tom Hogan-trained five-year-old did gain compensation in the Prix de la Foret last autumn after being beaten by Society Rock and he registered his second Group One triumph with a demolition job in this six-furlong showpiece.
Helped by Heeraat setting the pace on the far rail, Gordon Lord Byron (7-2) was always travelling easily for Johnny Murtagh. Taking it up with two furlongs to go, he quickly put daylight between himself and his rivals and won as he liked by three lengths from another Irish raider Slade Power. Hoof It was three-quarters of a length away in third.
Murtagh said: "He was different today. I don't know if it was the ground, but when I got to the three marker I was taking him back. I let him coast down to the two and when I gave him a couple of cracks, unlike the last time I rode him when he was hard work, today he was just electric and he picked up really well and won easy.
"He ran very well in France (Prix Maurice de Gheest). He's very tough and was staying on really well on ground that was probably quicker than ideal. Today he was different. He looked different. The girl who rides him out said he was in a different zone."
Hogan admitted he had high hopes before the off, saying: "I knew that he had improved at this time of year every year. I knew last week he was well. I felt today was his day and hopefully he will keep on improving this year.
"I think we will go for the Foret and then we might look at the QEII and go for a Group One over a mile for a change. He went to Hong Kong last year over a mile and that would be another option to go back if we get invited."
Trainer Clive Cox said: "It was clearly not his true running. The track walked a lot better than it rode. I will take all the blame. It was my fault, not the horse's. We shouldn't have run him really, but at the same time we thought it was just on the easy side of good. Fair play to the winner, he was very impressive. Our horse will be fine, we just have to put a line through it. It was my fault."
Eddie Lynam was proud of the efforts of Slade Power, saying: "Our horse has run a very good race. He could do no more than win the race on his side, but the winner was a long way ahead on the far side of the track. Our horse behaved himself in the stalls today, which was good to see.
"He's won two Group Threes and finished second and third in two Group Ones, so he's had a good year and I think he'll be an even better horse next year. He'll go for the big sprint at Ascot on Champions Day now (Qipco British Champions Sprint, October 19) and that will be his last run of the year."
It was a much improved performance from Mick Easterby's Hoof It, who had shown little since being narrowly beaten into third in this race two years ago. David Easterby, assistant trainer to his father, said: "We're chuffed to bits. Two years ago the sky was the limit, but then we suffered a setback when his wind went wrong.
"He's come back today on ground which wouldn't have suited him and I feel there will be more improvement to come. On Wednesday he did the best piece of work he has done this year. He has improved every week. He's getting his confidence back now. He's in the Ayr Gold Cup and that's what we'll look at."
Betfred Sprint Cup (British Champions Series) (Group 1)
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