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Ireland's "Seabiscuit": Gordon Lord Byron, The $2,900 Champion Sprinter

Kate O'Brien with Gordon Lord Byron at Canterbury Park, which has been turned into a quarantine area for the horse. Picture: Brett Costello Source: News Corp Australia

It’s just after dawn and the only sound is the dull drone of Sydney’s peak-hour traffic in the distance — until suddenly the clip clop of hoofs signals his arrival.

Gordon Lord Byron saunters onto the track for his morning exercise with galloping companion Imperial Dynasty.

Canterbury has been turned into a makeshift quarantine, stabling and training facility for the Irish champ. There has been no trackwork at the course in nearly 15 years anyway and the last meeting at the inner-city venue was a month ago — but fortunately the much-travelled Gordon Lord Byron prefers his own company.

“He doesn’t really like other horses,’’ his Irish trainer Tom Hogan revealed.

“But we had another horse put in the stables with him so he wasn’t on his own.

“And he needs a horse to work with on the track, he needs a ‘rabbit’.’’

As Gordon Lord Byron cantered around Canterbury under Kate O’Brien, Hogan’s apprentice jockey who travels everywhere, the trainer stopped to reflect on the turn of events that has led him and his unlikely sprint champion to be in Sydney for The Championships, which starts at Royal Randwick tomorrow.

Gordon Lord Byron is one of the leading chances in the sprint race of the season, the $2.5 million T.J. Smith Stakes, which boasts a field containing no fewer than 11 individual Group 1 winners.

The Irish sprinter has already made racing history in Sydney this autumn carnival with his win in the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes but it is his remarkable rags-to-riches story that is even more extraordinary.

“He’s Ireland’s version of Sea Biscuit, you know,’’ Hogan said.

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