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Dr Cyrus Poonawalla's Gordon Lord Byron wins Champions Sprint - By Tom Krish

Posted on - 19 Oct 2014

If you have his email address, send him a congratulatory message. If you have his phone number and know him well enough, please call him and offer your good wishes. Dr Cyrus Poonawalla’s Gordon Lord Byron won the Champions Sprint on Saturday at Ascot. The going was heavy. Wayne Lordan, the Irish ace who has struck a formidable partnership with the Tom Hogan-trained Gordon Lord Byron, rode a brilliant race. In the final part of the 1200-metre contest, Lordan drove his mount through the narrowest of gaps. It was a treat to watch. Many a pundit expressed the opinion that one hard race after another would have taken a toll on Gordon Lord Byron. I believe that the Hogan trainee thrives on racing. Gordon Lord Byron was a 5/1 chance.
 
Forgotten Rules proved the fastest when it mattered in the Long Distance Cup. The Dermot Weld-trained Forgotten Rules was held up in the 3200-metre race and thundered past the front runners when let loose. Estimate hated the going and was not a factor at any point. Leading Light, the 2/1 favorite, was seriously interfered with when Forgotten Rules veered to the right in the lane.
 
It was reported that Estimate had run her last race. Owned by Queen Elizabeth, Estimate provided several happy memories for the Royal Family.
 
Madame Chiang held Silk Sari in the 2400-metre Fillies-Mares Stakes. When the heat was on, Chiquita, Joe O’Brien up, hit the front and what cost her the race was her inability to keep a straight course. Madame Chiang won by two lengths.
 
The Q E II Stakes went to Charm Spirit, the French invader from Freddie Head’s stable. In the hands of Olivier Peslier, the son of Invincible Spirit, took charge inside the last 200 metres in the 1600-metre race and held the fast-charging Night Of Thunder, the 2/1 public choice. A 5/1 chance, Charm Spirit was winning his third consecutive Group I race. The time was 1 46.28.
 
Trainer Head commented. “It’s magnificent. Three Group I races in a row. He’s not a horse who will win by five lengths. He is tough and it is very difficult to pass him.”
 
Jockey Peslier spoke about his new deal with Sheikh Abdulla bin Khalifa Al Thani. “On my first ride, I have won for my new owner. It is a great start. I was worried because I thought we might be getting there too early. He has a good turn of foot and he is also a horse who likes to battle.”
 
Night Of Thunder, denied a smooth trip, was one half length shy. Richard Hughesexplained,” he’s run a blinder. It was a messy race. They were all in a heap. You have to be quick to get the gaps in races like this and I was not quick enough today.”
Jockey Hughes had a 9/1 quote if you wagered that he would ride a double. As if suffering  narrow losses in two Group I races in two days was not punishment enough, jockey Richard Hughes was slapped with a four-day ban for excessive use of the whip on Night Of Thunder.
 
 
 
It was Noble Mission’s moment in the sun as he and Al Kazeem flashed past the line locked together. The photo revealed that Frankel’s full brother had secured the verdict. It was an emotional moment for Lady Cecil. Noble Mission following in the footsteps of Frankel brought back memories of 2012, the year Frankel won the Champion Stakes. Sir Cecil won in 2012 and now in 2014, Lady Cecil had succeeded in keeping the tradition alive.
 
The time for the 2400-metre Group I race was 2 11.23 on heavy going. Noble Mission, a 7/1 chance,  made it all and in the last 200 metres, it became a two-horse race. Victory was bittersweet for jockey James Doyle who was fined 10,000 pounds for causing interference to Al Kazeem and for whip misuse.  He also received a seven-day ban.
 
Lady Cecil made an emotional statement. “What makes it more special, being Frankel’s brother. I had my head in my hands because I did not think he would hang on, but he was so brave.”
 
Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager for Khalid Abdullah who owns Noble Mission, said that no decision has been taken about Noble Mission’s future.
 
Cirrus des Aigles, the 18/10 favorite, was wide all the way and had nothing in the tank when called upon turning for home.  He finished fifth and was beaten five lengths. Jockey Soumillon was philosophical. “He had a good run. I did not have any power coming into the straight. It was a run for nothing. It just happens sometimes with horses. The ground was not to blame.”
 
Richard Hughes and Ryan Moore drew blanks on Saturday. End of Saturday, Hughes keeps that five-win margin. Hughes is off the board in the market as Ryan will miss several days.
 
The spotlight shifts to Toronto on Sunday. There is the Grade I Pattisonm Canadian International. There are 10 runners in the 2400-metre grass race. Ryan Moore rides Hillstar who comes from Sir Michael Stoute’s barn. Hillstar comes off a victory in Newbury’s Dubai Duty Free Legacy Cup. Hillstar’s most notable win came in the 2013 King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot.
 
Brown Panther, likely to carry the public purse, was a six-length winner of the Irish St Leger at the Curragh on September 14. Richard Kingscote comes from England to ride.
 
Big Blue Kitten, the leading American Hope, is a six year-old sired by Kitten’s Joy who loved grass racing. Pyrite Mountain, Jamie Spencer up, may not have the form required to win a Group I race but is a marginal possibility. The Pizza Man, winner of the American St Leger at Arlington Park on Million Day, will have the services of jockey FlorentGeroux.  Brown Panther is the favorite at 18/10.
 
The other Group I race in Woodbine’s Sunday card is the 2000-metre E P Taylor Stakes for fillies and mares. There are eight runners. Just The Judge, trained by Charlie Hills and to be ridden by Jamie Spencer, is the 3/2 favorite. Just The Judge, by Lawman, has been third in her last three ventures. In fact, Just The Judge has not been in the winner’s circle since her win in the 2013 Irish 1000 Guineas over 17 months ago.
 
Deceptive Vision, an A P Indy progeny, knows Woodbine well and was victorious in the Grade II Canadian Stakes on September 14. She is likely to have a big following.
 
Admire Rakti, by Hearts Cry, won the Caulfield Cup (Australia) on Saturday. The Caulfield Cup is an important stop in the road to the Melbourne to be run on the first Tuesday in November at Flemington Race Course.
 
In The Mysore Derby today, I give The Artist an outside chance. The unexposed The Artist has fresh legs and has been impressive in his only two career races, both winning ones. Jockey SurajNarredu flies in from Macau. Optimism of a high order must have provided the inspiration for the journey.

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