Big-race jockey Wayne Lordan believes Gordon Lord Byron is the “one to beat” in Saturday’s Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock. Tom Hogan’s pride and joy was a decisive winner of the Merseyside Group One in 2013 and was runner-up behind G Force in last year’s renewal and Society Rock in 2012. The seven-year-old has had mixed results so far this season, winning a Listed race at the Curragh and finishing a fantastic third in the Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville on his penultimate start, but he was a slightly disappointing third on his most recent appearance in the Renaissance Stakes. Limato’s defection means Candy relies on the unbeaten Twilight Son, who takes a significant step up in class in the hands of Fergus Sweeney. Sweeney said: “My horse is obviously stepping up in class significantly, but he did it really well last time at York and Mr Candy knows his sprinters. He wouldn’t be in there if he didn’t think he could hold his own “He’s a horse that is very workmanlike, even at home. He’s never magnificent in his work and just does what he has to do, so you never quite know what you’ve got in the tank. “He’s definitely better with a bit of cut in the ground.” Gordon Lord Byron is joined on the trip from Ireland by the Aidan O’Brien-trained Due Diligence and Eddie Lynam’s multiple Group One winner Sole Power, who will be ridden by Chris Hayes. Last year’s winner G Force is one of two runners for David O’Meara, with the Nawton maestro also saddling Watchable, while Tim Easterby’s Mattmu is another formidable Yorkshire challenger. Other major contenders include Mick Appleby’s Danzeno, the William Haggas-trained Adaay, John Gosden’s hat-trick seeker Waady and Stewards’ Cup hero Magical Memory from Charlie Hills’ yard. Lordan feels the stronger pace Gordon Lord Byron is likely to encounter at the weekend will bring out the best in his mount. “He’s a fantastic horse and every day he goes racing he gives us everything. I’m really looking forward to riding him again,” the jockey told At The Races. “He likes the track so hopefully he can give a good account of himself. “When he won the race it was pretty soft and it was soft last year. They’re calling the ground good and I wouldn’t think that’s an issue for him either. “My fellow is a good yardstick, so hopefully he is the one to beat.” Reflecting on his last run, Lordan said: ” We didn’t go too mad and quickened up from three (furlongs) out. He needs a very good, strong pace – that’s why he runs well in the top-class races. “He finished third, Moviesta won the race and he’s not a bad horse on his day.” Gordon Lord Byron features in a maximum field of 17 runners, with the Henry Candy-trained Limato a significant absentee on account of the ground. The only other horse not declared is outsider Markaz. Press Association
7 7 Despite those strikes, he is Real’s chief protector in midfield – and he fulfils much the same role for his country. He is an accomplished passer when in possession, however, and can help the midfield control the tempo and rhythm of a game, often providing excellent through balls for his attackers to chase in behind the opposition’s back line.Neymar (forward)The superstar of the Selecao, Neymar is Brazil’s most popular player and also their most effective attacking outlet. A product of the Santos youth system, he made his club debut at 17 and his international debut just one year later. Inter Milan star Miranda will bring experience to the Brazil backline in Russia. But how will Selecao look in Russia? The experts at The Coaches’ Voice have provided us with their tactical analysis, explaining what we should expect to see when Brazil get their campaign underway against Switzerland on Sunday, June 17.TACTICAL SET-UPDEFENCEBrazil possess a solid defensive record, conceding only 11 goals in 18 qualification matches. Impressively, they conceded only twice – away in Uruguay and Colombia – in the last 10 of those. Likely first-choice goalkeeper Alisson has enjoyed a fine season with Roma.They do have their vulnerabilities, however, particularly when defending crosses. Of the 11 goals they conceded in qualifying, eight came from crosses into the penalty area. It is a general weakness, too – of those eight, four came from either flank, five in the air and three on the ground. 7 7 Brazil can be exploited by crosses into the area Cheifly a defensive midfielder, Casemiro is also capable of cropping up with a goal in big moments. Keep an eye on him. Huge moves to Barcelona, where he joined Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez in an irresistible and Champions League-winning forward three, and latterly PSG followed. Before the injury that threatened his presence at this World Cup, the 26-year-old had scored 28 goals and created 19 more in just 30 appearances for the French champions.A wide forward predominantly operating on the left side, Neymar has incredible speed and skill within the final third. He often finds himself double-marked throughout matches, but he is superb in possession in tight areas, and capable of getting accurate shots away from most positions. A natural crowd-pleaser, Neymar appears to have returned to full fitness in the run-up to the start of the finals. Attacking crosses that lead to goals from deeper positions tend to stem from fast counter-attacks against the Brazilian back line. With both full-backs often joining the attack, and simultaneously moving into more central positions, the distance for potential recovery runs is therefore increased. This allows teams to counter-attack into deeper positions in the channels and provide attacking crosses from there.ATTACKBrazil are often associated with flair and flamboyance, and Tite has his front line living up to the heritage. Even with doubts over the fitness of star man Neymar, this team is more than capable of slicing through the most compact defences in world football.Throughout qualifying, they consistently demonstrated a desire to play through the centre of the pitch.Only six of their 41 goals – featuring 11 different scorers – came from outside the area; even if teams reverted into a compact low block, the Brazil attack still tried to dance their way through the middle.In typically Brazilian style, they always work the ball to the player who has the best chance of scoring. A large amount of goals will be finished inside the six-yard box, as they dribble and twist their way through the defence (see below), often luring out the goalkeeper in the process. The best teams often create the easiest finishes – this is the essence of this side. Brazil have been training with two systems that do not feature Neymar This approach could also be linked to an extremely aggressive high pressing game. Leading with Firmino, Coutinho and Willian as a central pressing trio ahead of Casemiro at the base of the midfield could offer Brazil an alternative defensive approach. If they elect to aggressively press the ball high and keep it pinned in the opponents’ half, this could help negate the issues they have had defending crosses.STAR PLAYERSMiranda (centre-back)João Miranda de Souza Filho, simply known as Miranda, is a hugely experienced central defender who is nevertheless heading for his first World Cup at the age of 33.He is not short of big-game pedigree, however – he was a multiple title winner with Sao Paulo in his native Brazil before moving to Atletico Madrid, where he was part of a team that claimed Europa League, Copa del Rey and La Liga victories in consecutive years from 2012 to 2014. 7 Brazil’s attacking play is focussed on creating easy goalscoring chances Now plying his trade in Italy with Inter, Miranda is an imposing central defender who has formed a formidable partnership with the ball-playing Marquinhos at the heart of the Brazilian defence. He is a strong tackler who brings composure and leadership to the tournament favourites.Casemiro (defensive midfield)Despite all of Brazil’s attacking talent, they still require balance. In a potentially top-heavy team, holding midfielder Casemiro provides it.A product of the Sao Paulo youth system, he was spotted early by Spanish giants Real Madrid. Officially signed in the summer of 2013, he spent a season on loan at FC Porto in neighbouring Portugal in 2014/15, gaining crucial experience of European football away from the glare of the Bernabeu.Since returning, Casemiro has made himself an integral part of the Real team under Zinedine Zidane, starting in back-to-back Champions League finals in 2016 and 2017. He scored Madrid’s second goal in the 4-1 victory over Juventus a year ago, and followed that up with another against Manchester United in the European Super Cup in August. Tite guided Brazil through qualifying and will now lead Selecao in Russia Neymar has returned to full fitness in the run-up to the World Cup 7 7 Brazil are one of the favourites to win the World Cup this summer.The five times world champions can call upon some of the best players in the world, a truly top-class manager, and a squad that is almost perfectly balanced in every area. Further back, both full-backs and wide midfielders will often look to cut inside when in possession, looking to attack the weaker side of their opposite numbers and link with central attacking players of their own. They will then look for quick central combinations, using all the turns, flicks, and scoops so regularly identified with Brazilian football.SQUAD DEPTHThough Neymar has returned to action during the pre-tournament friendlies, Brazil have been practising different final-third combinations that do not include the talismanic forward. Two main alternatives involve slightly adapting their usual 4-3-3 attacking shape.Firstly, they could look to use a 4-2-2-2 structure, with the main focus around two central forwards. Both Gabriel Jesus and Roberto Firmino have jostled for the central striker role in recent months, but with the potential absence of Neymar, they could be deployed together. Philippe Coutinho could then be utilised just behind, along with Barcelona teammate Paulinho, as two centrally supporting number 10s.If Brazil are required to attack with more width, Douglas Costa and Taison could be utilised as attacking wingers. Both possess speed with the ball and could feature if Tite wants to revert from his preferred central attack against teams leaving space in wide areas.