Irish raider Gordon Lord Byron snuck up the rail and won the George Ryder Stakes in his Australian debut March 29, becoming the first Northern Hemisphere horse to win a group I race at Rosehill Gardens.
Jockey Craig Williams positioned the 5-year-old Byron gelding midpack in the early running after 3-year-old El Roca charged from the gate to lead. El Roca dictated the pace throughout but, spent from his pacemaking, yielded to Speediness at the 200-meter mark as Gordon Lord Byron moved to the rail. Speediness look set for victory but Gordon Lord Byron found another gear with 50 meters left and won by a short neck. El Roca held on for third in the field of 15.
Gordon Lord Byron finished 1,500 meters (about 7 1/2 furlongs) in 1:30.95 on turf rated slow. He is the first Northern Hemisphere horse to win a group I race in Sydney and will now be aimed for the Doncaster Mile or T.J. Smith Stakes (both Aus-I) on the first day of The Championships program April 12 at Royal Randwick.
Trained by Tom Hogan for Morgan Calahan, Gordon Lord Byron's record also includes top-level wins in the 2012 Betfred Sprint Cup (Eng-I) and Prix de la Foret (Fr-I). He has an overall mark of 10-8-6 from 35 starts.
Roland H. Alder bred Gordon Lord Byron out of the unraced Intikhab mare Boa Estrella, a half sister to group III winner Cheyenne Star.
Also on the card, New Zealand-bred Criterion looks to be the early favorite for the Australian Derby (Aus-I) April 12 following his convincing victory in the Rosehill Guineas (Aus-I).
The son of Sebring uncoiled a strong burst of speed in the straight and won by 3 1/2 lengths from Thunder Bay, with Teronado a half-length back in third. Randwick Guineas (Aus-I) winner and favorite Dissident finished sixth.
Ridden by Hugh Bowman for trainer David Payne, Criterion was timed in 2:05.94 for the 2,000 meters (about 1 1/4 miles) on turf. The victory was his first in a group I race but he has placed twice at the top level, including the Australian Guineas March 1 at Flemington.
Australia group III winner Mica's Pride is the dam of Criterion, a half brother to group II winner Varenna Miss. He was bred by Go Bloodstock New Zealand and has a 4-3-1 record from 15 starts.
The whole complexion of the Galaxy Stakes (Aus-I) changed as gates flew open and race favorite Rain Affair and Bel Sprinter were slow to start, both losing all hope in the 1,100-meter (about 5 1/2-furlong) dash.
In the straight Tiger Tees got the upper hand, winning by a short neck as he was nearly run down by 3-year-old filly Anatina. Villa Verde, the 6-1 favorite, was 1 1/2 lengths back in third in the 13-horse field.
Tiger Tees, a 6-year-old Dubawi gelding trained by Joseph Pride, finished in 1:05.02. A two-time group III winner and half brother to Singapore champion Super Easy, he posted a breakthrough group I victory under Nash Rawiller. He is out of the winning Gold Brose mare Parfore.