Tuesday 12 December 2017

Toronado to become king'

Highland Reel
Highland Reel

TORONADO can sweep aside young pretender Kingman and bag back-to-back victories in the Qipco Sussex Stakes at Goodwood.

The 'Duel on the Downs' tag has been resurrected again this year as four-year-old Toronado faces off against the year-younger Kingman and at the prices, it appears to make more sense to side with Richard Hannon's charge.

Kingman is undoubtedly a fine colt and with Toronado conceding 8lb on the weight-for-age scale, it is hard to see how he might topple the star of the current Classic crop.

However, Toronado overcame the odds to beat Dawn Approach in the mile race last year and he can once again defy the market following an excellent reappearance at Royal Ascot.

Off the track for a lengthy period after his Juddmonte International flop last August, Toronado roared back into action with a comfortable three-quarter-length verdict over Verrazano in what was probably not the strongest renewal of the Queen Anne Stakes.

That said, Toronado looked as though he would progress for the run and Richard Hughes was hardly under pressure at any point in the race.

Goodwood can be a tricky track and few better know how to ride it than Hughes, as he showed when producing this High Chaparral colt with a perfectly-timed challenge last year.

A similar effort this time should ensure a thrilling finish, with experience expected to just trump youth.

Observational can forward his St Leger claims with victory in the Neptune Investment Management Gordon Stakes. Roger Charlton's charge has already bagged plenty of cash for connections this term, with a second place in a sales race at Newmarket back in April proving particularly fruitful.

However, he marked himself as a classy type when notching a first victory in a Listed event at Goodwood back in May, holding off a colt who has since run with credit when placed at Royal Ascot.

Observational looked as though he would feel the benefit of a step up in trip that day, though, so this switch up to a mile and a half should be right up his street, despite facing off against the likes of Noble Mission, Harbinger and Conduit.

Highland Reel strolled home by 12 lengths on his latest run and it could be telling that Aidan O'Brien relies upon him in the Veuve Clicquot Vintage Stakes. Second to a horse who has since placed in Group Three company on his debut, Highland Reel barely came off the bridle in winning at Gowran with two winners already emerging from the also-rans.

O'Brien obviously thinks plenty of him to be stepping him up so sharply in company and his clutch of Group One entries suggests expectations are high.

GALWAY: 3.00 Marchese Marconi, 3.35 Ask Vic, 4.10 In A Nutshell, 4.45 Little King Robin, 5.30 Competitive Edge, 6.05 Sister Slew, 6.40 Spring Focus, 7.10 Brooch.

GOODWOOD: 1.55 Stopped Out, 2.30 Observational, 3.05 TORONADO (NAP), 3.40 Highland Reel, 4.15 Luna Moon, 4.50 Patterned, 5.25 Liberty Jack.

LEICESTER: 6.00 Dolorous, 6.30 Henke, 7.05 Watersmeet, 7.40 Skate, 8.10 Shilla, 8.45 Daisy Boy.

PERTH: 2.15 Dr Moloney, 2.50 Koh Samui, 3.25 Toledo Gold, 4.35 Honour System, 5.10 Cool Star, 5.45 Sarabad, 6.15 Five Rivers.

REDCAR: 2.05 Crosse Fire, 2.40 Blue Army, 3.15 Mixed Message, 3.50 Mighty Missile, 4.25 Mr McLaren, 5.00 Red Cape, 5.35 A J Cook, 6.10 Sophie's Beau.

SANDOWN: 5.50 Byrd In Hand, 6.25 Cataria Girl, 6.55 Referendum, 7.30 Biotic, 8.00 Petticoat Lane, 8.35 Cosette.

DOUBLE: Toronado and Highland Reel.

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