Gordon Lord Byron will bring the house down if he can claim top honours in a race named in his honour at Haydock on Thursday.
Tom Hogan’s veteran counts three Group One wins among his 16 career victories, including what his trainer believes was a career-best performance in the Sprint Cup at the Merseyside venue six years ago.
Ridden by Johnny Murtagh, Gordon Lord Byron came home three lengths clear of his top-class compatriot Slade Power. He went on to claim his most recent top-level success in Australia the following March.
It has been a while between drinks for the popular Irish challenger as he has not managed to get his head in front since landing the Group Two Greenlands Stakes at the Curragh in May 2017 – but he has run several fine races in defeat so far this season.
“Thursday’s race will be Gordon Lord Byron’s 103rd start, it is a fairytale,” said Hogan.
“Gordon Lord Byron has raced all over the world – Australia, Hong Kong, France and the United Arab Emirates, but winning the Sprint Cup at Haydock Park in 2013 was his finest performance.
“He loves it there.”
Gordon Lord Byron is the highest-rated horse in a field of six runners for the seven-furlong Gordon Lord Byron EBF Conditions Stakes.
To add further interest, the 11-year-old will be ridden by Frankie Dettori for the first time.
Speaking on the Haydock website, Hogan added: “It is a really lovely gesture by Haydock to put on this race, they are great people there.
“I take him to the beach most weeks, it is a 100 miles journey from where I train, but it is well worth it because he loves the sand and sea under his hooves.
“He gets five-star treatment and it is all about keeping him happy and content.”
Should Gordon Lord Byron emerge triumphant on his return to Haydock, it could be viewed as the perfect way for him to bring the curtain down on his glittering career.
However, his County Tipperary-based trainer insists retirement on his not on his mind.
He said: “He really enjoys his life – and I don’t see any reason why he will not stay in training next year.”
Haydock’s clerk of the course Kirkland Tellwright is looking forward to welcoming Gordon Lord Byron and his connections back to the track.
He said: “Gordon Lord Byron’s career is heartwarming and we’re proud to have been part of it at Haydock Park.
“Having also been second in the Sprint Cup in 2012 and 2014, he came close to equalling the record of Be Friendly, who is the only horse to have won the Sprint Cup twice.
“His record is testament to his class and durability and also to Tom Hogan’s skilful handling of the horse.”