Leading jockey Craig Williams has been confirmed to retain the ride on classy Irish raider Gordon Lord Byron on day 1 of the inaugural The Championships at Royal Randwick this weekend, and is confident trainer Tom Hogan has made the right decision to enter the talented six-year-old in the Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) rather than the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m).
Having displayed a knack for claiming victories when dropping back in distance in his native Ireland and Britain, Williams told TVN the weight-for-age requirements of the T.J. Smith should also suit Gordon Lord Byron.
“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 T.J.”
Leading the exiting Byron gelding to a clear path and a last-gasp victory in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) in his Australian racing debut on March 29th, Williams said that Gordon Lord Byron is far from a black-and-white runner, particularly when considering the way he won the Group 1 Betfred Sprint Cup (1207m) at Britain’s Haydock Park during his most recent preparation.
“He dominated that six furlong race at Haydock” Williams said.
“He took the lead a long way out and controlled the race.
“When you watch that race it was very impressive.”
Amassing a strong record of 10 wins and 14 places from 35 race starts to date, Gordon Lord Byron broke through for a maiden victory at the highest level of racing in the Group 1 Qatar Prix De La Foret (1400m) at France’s Longchamp in October 2012, prior to arguably his strongest preparation to date over 2013 which included three strong victories and four places from eleven starts.
Having claimed the George Ryder Stakes by a half-length, Gordon Lord Byron currently leads early betting markets for this weekend’s T.J. Smith Stakes.
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