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2000 Guineas runner in profile: Craven Stakes winner Toronado

Toronado’s recent course and distance victory in Newmarket’s Craven Stakes on the eighteenth of April catapulted him into second favouritism in the 2000 Guineas betting with Coral, with his price halving from 7/1 to 7/2 and he’s now a general 9/4 second favourite for the first colts’ classic of the 2013 campaign.

Toronado hails from the Everleigh yard of vastly experienced handler Richard Hannon, who secured the third Champion trainer’s gong of his 43 year career last season. His record of three 2000 Guineas winners in that period is on a par with that of Sir Henry Cecil, whilst only Aidan O’Brien and Sir Michael Stoute have sent out more winners since 1970.

The yard’s Guineas-winning brew has been permeating nicely in recent years with five Hannon-trained runners posting top-five finishes in the Newmarket classic in the last three campaigns.

Furthermore the trainer’s confidence in Toronado’s ability to do the job on the Rowley Mile has been advertised by the decision to send Greenham stakes winner Olympic Glory – who won that trial cosily in the style of a horse who would improve for the run – to Longchamp for the French Guineas rather than form part of a team assault on Newmarket.

Hannon diverted Toronado from his intended trial destination at Newbury to Newmarket after concerns about soft ground. Having won all four of his career starts on ground ranging from good-to-soft to good-to-firm the High Chaparral progeny should be able to give of his best on Saturday with no prolonged rain expected in Suffolk before the weekend according to the Met Office.

Sired by English and Irish Derby winner High Chapparal it’s easy to see why Toronado was shorter in the betting for the Epsom classic before his superb Craven win, with staying star So You Think the five-time Group 1 winner’s most successful offspring in financial terms. However any doubts about him lacking the pace to score in the 2000 Guineas can be assuaged to a degree by the fact that High Chapparal’s second highest earning son was multiple Group 1 winning Australian miler Shoot Out.

Toronado represents a fine chance of a first English Classic winner for Richard Hughes, but that shouldn’t reflect badly on the Champion Jockey’s credentials, with the Irishman having won Guineas races in France, Ireland and India during his career.