Bog Like Conditions The Best For Byron
QIPCO Champion Sprint Stakes
Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday looks an absolute cracker, and one in which punters will need to be looking for runners with proven form in the mud…
…such as Gordon Lord Byron, who goes for the Group 2 Sprint Stakes (2.20).
Gordon Lord Byron
A winner of last season’s Group 1 Haydock Sprint Cup, Tom Hogan’s evergreen 7yo was beaten off by just 3/4l by G Force in his bid to win that race for a second time last month, prior to a creditable 2l second to Olympic Glory in a French Group 1 on Arc weekend (7f, good).
Gordon Lord Byron clearly retains his form, but hasn’t had the ground as soft as he’d like so far this season, although Saturday’s race in bog-like conditions looks the ideal chance for him to gain a first victory of the season.
He will of course have to reverse form with his conqueror from Haydock, G Force, who has been installed as the 11/4 favourite on Saturday. However, the mud is not guaranteed to suit David O’Meara’s 3yo, though one positive is that his age-group have the best strike-rate in the last 10 years of this race having won it four times…
Of the last 10 Sprint Stakes winners…
10 were 3-5yo’s
10 had 6-25 career runs – others were 0-57
9 returned 12/1 or shorter
9 were males – females were 1-29
9 were drawn in stall 6 or higher
9 ran over 5f-6f last time
9 made the top two during their last three runs
9 finished second to seventh last time – last time out winners were 1-26
8 had yet to win a Group 2 race
6 arrived via Haydock (4) or Newbury (2)
What remains clear from the above list of trends is that sprinters priced at 12/1 or shorter fared the best in this race, which brings Jack Dexter into the equation at 6/1. This 5yo is a renowned mud-lover, and his 4l eighth (of 27) in the Ayr Gold Cup last month suggests he is in reasonable enough form to see him repeat his effort in this race 12 months ago, when beaten 1/4l by Slade Power.
Also in last year’s renewal was Viztoria (11/2), who was 3l back in third behind Jack Dexter, but arrives in fine fettle having won a Listed race over 6f last weekend (6f, yielding). This 4yo filly should go well again, and the more rain that falls the better her chance.
Further rain would also suit the old warrior, Maarek (11/2), who has found the ground too fast the last three times, but won this race two years ago and should not be dismissed.
John Gosden’s Gregorian (10/1), is also respected but steps down from 7f, which isn’t ideal on trends, while Tropics showed an excellent level of form when beaten just over 1l by Slade Power in the Group 1 July Cup at Newmarket (6f, good to soft) and was a Group 3 winner over this C&D last October on soft ground.
G Force heads the market but isn’t sure to enjoy what could be testing conditions, suggesting the likes of Gordon Lord Byron could take advantage. Proven at this level, he won’t mind the conditions and could land a first Group 1.