Gordon Lord Byron, winner of the 2017 running of the six-furlong Group 2 Weatherbys Greenlands Stakes, was a high-flyer in many senses of the word.

The son of Byron enjoyed a long and top class career that took him and his connections on a once-in-a-lifetime journey spanning eight seasons and world-wide racing.

Although the gelding travelled the globe several times to run in some of the best races the international racing world has to offer, connections still managed to find space in a packed race programme to run him four times in the Greenlands; their star performer rewarding their planning with one win in 2017 and a third place in 2019.


Gordon Lord Byron was, in fact, a remarkable racehorse – he won three Group 1s in three different countries and on two continents, and ran at his favoured the Curragh 25 times.

Big numbers were something of a speciality – overall he ran 108 times to win 16 races. He ran in 79 stakes races, won 10, finished second 11 times and third another 10 times. He picked up nearly £2 million in prize-money earnings.

He won the Group 1 Prix de la Foret in 2012 beating Penitent, and finished second in 2013 and 2014 to Moonlight Cloud and then to Olympic Glory. He was second in the Haydock Sprint Cup (G1) in 2012 to Society Rock, went one place better in 2013, and was second again in 2014 to G Force. He finished third in the Prix Maurice de Gheest (G1) in 2015, fourth in the Hong Kong Sprint (G1) in 2014 and fourth in the Hong Kong Mile (G1) in 2013 and 2012.

He collected enough air miles to fund a lifetime of holidays.

As a youngster, however, the career did not get off to the best of starts and the whole story might not have been realised had it not been for the patience and foresight of trainer Tom Hogan, owner Morgan Cahalan and his daughter Jessica.

Despite Gordon Lord Byron’s dam, the unraced Intikhab mare Bao Estrela, boasting a Group 3-winning half-sibling, he was unloved by buyers when offered as a foal, while a subsequent serious early career injury could have .

Jessica Cahalan purchased him as a foal from breeder Roland Alder through consignor Owenstown Stud at the Goffs November Foal Sale 2008.

“Jessica was then my secretary and had some money to spend on a foal,” recalls Hogan. “She went to Goffs just after the Lehman’s bank had crashed – I think she hoped people would be giving her a headcollar with a foal to take away for free!

“She went to €2,000 for him, she had €1,600 on her in cash and the last bit had to go on the credit card… like any good woman when out shopping!

“She got him home with the intention of selling him on as a yearling, but she did not get a bid the following autumn. Her brother David then broke him in, they wanted to enter him in a breeze-up sale but none of the companies would take him.

“So she brought him up to me to see if thought he could be any use. The first day I cantered him I liked him, he was a smashing mover and floated along. I kept him for four or five weeks and did a little bit of work. He was quite raw so I sent him back and told him to treat him well for a couple of months before bringing him back for the autumn.

“We ran him later on that year, and I fancied him to have an each-way chance, but he came out of the stalls awkwardly and fractured his pelvis. The vets wanted to put him down, but I refused – I had previously sorted out a few horses with fractured pelvises and they had gone on to do well; I liked this horse and I did not want him to be put down.”

Hogan took his two-year-old home, packed his stable full of car tyres so he could not lie down and complicate the fracture and, after a year of careful nurture, the trainer got him back to the track as a three-year-old in July 2011.

That first run back did not promise much when he finished last of 14, a lung infection subsequently diagnosed. The horse then went to Bellewstown for a maiden in which he finished second carrying Hogan’s each-way bet at 150/1. He then finished second, third and fifth in maidens on soft ground, eventually getting off the mark in an All-Weather maiden and following up on the same surface in a November-run six-furlong handicap off a mark of 78.

By the following June, the four-year-old had taken his BHA rating to over 100, and in his eight-year-long career that figure never again dipped below a three-figure mark.

The buying money that had not been around for Gordon Lord Byron at the foal and yearling sales started materialising with private purchasers making substantial offers for the four-year-old gelding, then in possession of such a progressive CV.

Hogan recalls the decision-making process which ensured the horse stayed in his care.

“We were getting ready for Royal Ascot and somebody offered to buy him for €200,000, which is a lot of money,” he says. “Morgan arrived into my yard one morning, and he said, ‘What do you think we should do?’

“I told him that if he needed the money then the horse should be sold, but I also told him that I was sure we could win back the €200,000 within a couple of months.”

Hogan’s confidence rubbed off and the next day Cahalan with his decision made told his trainer: “I have no money, but I also have no mortgage – I am not giving this horse to anyone else!”

The horse was given one more sales entry for the late October Tattersalls Horses in Training Sale 2012 but was withdrawn – by then Gordon Lord Byron had started to take his connections on the dream journey. He had won the Prix de la Foret and finished second in the Haydock Sprint Cup, and had also collected over £300,000 in prize-money earnings – Hogan’s brave promise to his owner coming to fruition.