sport

Byron beaten by ground

Trainer Tom Hogan felt the wet conditions at Randwick racecourse contributed to Gordon Lord Byron's downfall in the Darley TJ Smith Stakes.

The high-class six-year-old was a Group One winner on his first start in Australia last month but could finish only sixth behind outstanding winner Lankan Rupee in the six-furlong affair at the Sydney circuit.

Gordon Lord Byron was settled in midfield early on, but jockey Craig Williams was hard at work as they straightened for home.

Hogan's three-times Group One scorer made up a little late ground, but he fell some way short of Lankan Rupee.

The Mick Price-trained five-year-old was quickly into his stride under Craig Newitt and continued to pull further clear to extend his winning run to five races.

Rebel Dane finished a well-beaten second, with the game Buffering an honourable third.

Gordon Lord Byron is now set to step back up in trip for the Champions Mile at Sha Tin racecourse in Hong Kong.

The County Tipperary handler said: "He missed the break and couldn't get traction on that ground - it was very slippy and sloppy on top.

"He's thankfully none the worse and will now go to Hong Kong, where we hope for better ground.

"He'll leave (Australia) on April 22 and we'll then get him ready for the Champions Mile on May 4.

"We want to win every day, but he's a wonderful horse and even gets us prize-money when things go wron

Although many of Australia's star sprinters end up at Royal Ascot, Price has all but ruled out the possibility of Lankan Rupee following suit.

He said: "Unless they put up more prize-money than they have in Australia I don't see the point (in going to Ascot).

"He has the spring in front of him and we might have him for another five or six years if he's handled properly, so I don't intend to go any further with him this prep.

"I don't think I've ever had a world-class-rated horse, so he's obviously the best horse I've trained.

"I was a bit concerned about the wet track but I left it to the jockey.

"The horse has come of age."

Newitt said of the winner: "I truly believe he can go anywhere in the world and dominate.

"He was getting a bit leg-weary late on but he had them all covered.

"He's gone to a whole new level."