Hogan's flagbearer settling into life in Hong Kong
Updated: Wednesday, 05 Dec 2012 16:04
Tom Hogan's Gordon Lord Byron has adapted nicely to his surroundings in Sha Tin ahead of his step up in trip for the Hong Kong Mile on Sunday.
Phenomenally progressive in sprints during the summer, winning a Listed race at York and taking second to Society Rock in the Haydock Sprint Cup, he most recently won the Group One Prix de la Foret at Longchamp.
After watching Gordon Lord Byron have an easy canter on the all-weather track, Hogan's son and assistant Andrew said: "He's in great form, he travelled over well and he's settled in really well so everything has gone great so far.
"The weather's suiting him, it feels like home!
"He's just kept improving all the time and we think he's still improving but we'll find out Sunday.
"Longchamp was brilliant, it was testing that day over seven furlongs and they went real quick, so he should have no problem getting the mile here."
"He's in great form, he travelled over well and he's settled in really well" - Andrew Hogan on Gordon Lord Byron
Trainer Alain de Royer-Dupre has warned punters not to discount his Falmouth Stakes winner Giofra in the Hong Kong Cup.
Well beaten by her compatriot and weekend opponent Cirrus Des Aigles in the Prix Ganay at the start of the season, the four-year-old went on to run in the Prix Jean Romanet after her Newmarket Group One success before rounding off the European season in the Prix de l'Opera.
Royer-Dupre believes those last two efforts can be ignored and said: "She might be slightly underrated in the Cup but I warn you, she is an exceptional filly.
"The only blip is her sixth place in the Prix Jean Romanet last summer at Deauville, but the course was not good there and she stumbled going out of the stalls, and then injured herself.
"Last time, she finished third in the Prix de l'Opera on a ground she did not like at all.
"But don't get it wrong, it takes a very good horse to beat the Brits in their backyard like she did in the Falmouth Stakes in July.
"Giofra has travelled very well to Hong Kong and I am expecting a very good performance from her on Sunday.
"The horse I fear the most in the Cup is Saonois. I don't think that his age is a problem.
"When they are that good, age does not matter, and he should like the way races are run here."
Connections of Carlton House believe the step back up to a mile and a quarter will suit The Queen's colt in the same race.
The four-year-old has not quite been at his best over a mile on his last two starts, but his form over the longer distance puts him in with a fair chance of landing a Royal success.
Carlton House will be having his final start for Michael Stoute before being transferred into the care of Australian trainer Gai Waterhouse.
John Warren, The Queen's racing and bloodstock advisor, said: "Her Majesty is looking forward to Carlton House running in Hong Kong on Sunday, a wonderful race meeting.
"Carlton House's last two starts have been over a mile and now he is going back up to 2000 metres (a mile and a quarter).
"He has won two Group races over this distance and there is no reason not to pitch him into that department."
Jockey Ryan Moore is equally optimistic of his mount's chance in the Group One.
"He is more consistent than some people think, and there has always been a very good reason for his few less good runs," he said.
"Ascot two starts back was a disaster but in June he had run a terrific race when second to So You Think at Royal Ascot.
"The move back up to 2000m must be a help and when I watched him on the track this morning he looked really well, and that is also what people from the stable are telling me.
"Cirrus Des Aigles is, of course, a problem for all of us."
James Fanshawe will not be doing a lot with old stager and recent Canadian International runner-up Dandino ahead of the Hong Kong Vase.
"Touch wood, everything has gone well with him, so far as the trip out here is concerned," Fanshawe said.
"It's now just a question of keeping him ticking over until Sunday, as he did all his serious work back home.
"Jim (Crowley) will ride him tomorrow and Friday, and he might do a little more then, but it won't be much in terms of work.
"He ran well in Canada and we're hoping for the best here."