Gordon Lord Byron looked a sprinter set for better things when running out an impressive winner at Cork last night.
Tom Hogan’s gelding is blossoming this season and followed up a handicap victory at Tipperary last week in the six furlong conditions event.
Fran Berry’s mount cruised into lead under two furlongs out as front-running 11/10 favourite Croisultan faded tamely.
The four-year-old responded instantly when asked for another gear inside the final furlong and proved much too strong for his rivals as he recorded a cosy two-and-a-quarter length success over Six Of Hearts.
The winning rider was impressed and said: “Tom was keen to run as he came out of the race very well from the last day.
“He travelled very very easily. The favourite folded at the two pole and my fella won very easily.
“He goes on any ground and is versatile trip wise as well.”
The other sprint on the card proved a different story all together as Versilia Gal struggled to jusitify her short price in the six-furlong fillies maiden.
Pat Smullen made the running on the 1/3 shot but the distress signals came out early in the straight.
Truly Madly and Indigo Ridge challenged on either side and the former had a narrow lead going into the final furlong.
Experience told close home, however, as Smullen drove the hotpot into the lead to pip the tail-swishing Truly Madly by a neck.
Consistency paid off for 3/1 favourite Landsdowne when he gained a deserved success in the seven-furlong handicap.
Tracey Collins’ charge had filled the runner-up spot twice already this season but made no mistake this time as he battled to a gutsy half length success over 25/1 shot Moscow Treat.
“Michael was very good on him and needed to be strong,” said Collins afterwards.
“He’s so consistent and deserved that. I think he’s already got his penalties (for being placed)!
“We’ll see how he comes out of this. He has two entries for next week (Naas and Gowran).”
The decision to rush home for the action at the Mallow track paid dividends for Joseph O’Brien as he recorded an easy success on Chicago in the mile maiden.
The hotpot, sent off 2/11 favourite, cruised into the lead two furlongs out and quickened away in style for an impressive six-length success.
“He was entitled to win well as it was an ordinary race. He won like his price suggested,” said O’Brien junior afterwards.
The closest finish of the night came in the ten furlong handicap as Barrow Island just held the late lunge of Mojita.
Shane Foley had sent Barrow Island into the lead two furlongs out but he was all out to score by a head at the post as the runner-up rattled home.
“He’s as tough as they come and he’s staying a lot better now,” said Halford.
“Fitness might have made a difference as he ground it out. He has schooled over hurdles and jumps well. He should have no problem with two miles.
“We’ll stick to mile-and-two handicaps and we won’t be in a hurry to go back so quick with him (having run last week).”
Foley went on to complete a quick double in the concluding mile-and-a-half fillies maiden aboard Montebell.
Having denied a Ken Condon runner in the previous race, Foley made amends when sending the 10/3 favourite into the lead over a furlong out and surging clear for a two-and-a-quarter length success.
“This is always a nice maiden and there were some beautifully bred fillies in the race,” said Condon.
“Her dam was Group placed and she ran a lovely race at Navan.
“On that basis she was entitled to be favourite and I was very happy that she turned up and did it.
“Last year she was very immature and we did nothing with her. The owners were very patient. She’ll go for a stakes race next.”
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