Earlier this year, owner Morgan Cahalan and trainer Tom
Hogan made a plan — take two-time European Group 1 winner Gordon Lord Byron to Australia,
give him a prep run, then make an assault on the inaugural The Championships at Royal
On Saturday, part one of that scheme came to fruition when the gutsy gelding stormed up
the rail to take Rosehill’s Group 1 George Ryder Stakes.
Breaking with the field, Gordon Lord Byron was restrained to midpack off the fence
by jockey Craig Williams as the sophomore El Roca set the pace. Following Speediness to the
inside rail passing the 200 meter mark, it appeared as if Gordon Lord Byron would be
second best in the closing stages, but he found another gear inside the final 50 meters and
nipped his rival on the wire.
“I said jokingly a couple of months ago my plan for him this year
was to win a Group 1 in Australia, one in Asia, one in Europe and one in America,” trainer Tom
Hogan told Racing Post. “So we’ve got the first one. He’s a proper horse.”
A €2,000 Goffs November foal purchase by
Cahalan, Gordon Lord Byron was led out of the same ring unsold for
€5,000 a year
later. It took the bay seven starts to break his maiden, and he raced at a modest level in Britain
and Ireland until collecting his first listed win in August 2012. His first Group 1 win followed
less than two months later when he upended Longchamp’s Prix de la Foret.
Gordon Lord Byron traveled to Hong Kong and Dubai, and recorded his second win at the highest level in last year’s
Group 1 Sprint Cup. He finished second, beaten only be supermare Moonlight Cloud, next out
in the Prix de la Foret, and was last seen finishing fourth in the Group 1 Hong Kong Mile December 8.
Gordon Lord Byron will now contest either the Group 1
Doncaster Handicap over a mile or the Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes going 1200 meters, both at The Championships at
Royal Randwick on April 12.
“Craig (Williams) said to me you can go anyway you like
and you’ll win either and he should be fairly straight for his next run here in two weeks’
time,” Hogan added. “That run should put him right — he’s won nicely today and hopefully he’ll
improve a little from the run.”