• Racing/
  • Pure Poetry for Byron at Haydock

Betfred Sprint Cup (British Champions Series) (Group 1) 6f

  • (3yo+, 6f, Class 1, 13 runners)
  • Winner £141,775 2nd £53,750 3rd £26,900 4th £13,400 5th £6,725 6th £3,375
  • Going: Good to Soft (Soft in places in the back straight)
  • Surface: Turf
Weighed In:
  • Winning time: 1m 12.25s
  • Off time: 15:53:09
  • Last Updated: September 7 2013, 17:53 BST

Gordon Lord Byron simply outclassed his rivals to take the Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock Park under Johnny Murtagh.

Gordon Lord Byron wins easily under Murtagh
Gordon Lord Byron wins easily under Murtagh

With favourite Lethal Force failing to fire from an early stage and Garswood blowing his chances with a tardy break from the stalls, it was left to Heeraat to cut out the early gallop in the six-furlong Group One.

But Murtagh's mount was always travelling very smoothly in the leader's slipstream against the far rail, and when he asked him to quicken up the response was immediate.

Sent off a 7/2 chance, Gordon Lord Byron was clear at the furlong-pole and never looked like being caught, Sole Power (9/1) eventually coming out of the pack for second three lengths adrift of the winner with Hoof It (33/1) returning to some form 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.

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"Today he was different. He looked different. The girl who rides him out said he was in a different zone."

Hogan admitted that he'd had high hopes for his runner before the off.

He said: "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 Prix de la Foret [which he won last year] 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."

Pre-race concerns about the underfoot conditions proved well founded for Lethal Force, with trainer Clive Cox admitting he should not have been allowed to run.

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. The trainer said: "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.

The trainer's son and assistant, David Easterby, 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."

Sky Bet cut Hoof It to 16/1 from 25s for the Scottish showpiece.


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