Newmarket Rowley Mile
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2000 Guineas trials – Dundonnell can reverse form with Toronado in Craven

Thursday’s 4:05 Craven Stakes is long-established trial for the 2000 Guineas run over the very same course and distance and this year’s renewal sees Richard Hannon’s Toronado aiming to score a second career win over Roger Charlton’s Dundonnell, after defeating him in Doncaster’s Champagne Stakes last year. However, the Group 2 race winner’s penalty Toronado incurred for that victory will give Roger Charlton’s colt every chance of reversing the placings on the Rowley Mile.

Richard Hannon had originally intended Toronado – 7/1 second-favourite in the 2000 Guineas betting with Coral – to this weekend’s Greenham Stakes at Newbury (where he would not have had to shoulder a penalty) but due to concerns about the likelihood of good to soft ground at the Berkshire circuit he has been rerouted to Newmarket.

When the pair met on Town Moor, Champion Jockey Richard Hughes was allowed to dictate affairs with Toronado, nicking virtually two lengths off his rivals at the start before making all. James Doyle – who had initially tried to find some cover for Dundonnell – was left with too much ground to make up and used up a good deal of his finishing burst getting back on terms with his adversary.

The form of his previous outing – when beating Steeler at York – has been well franked by the second who won listed and Group 2 races on his next two outings, before finishing under two lengths third to one time Kingsbarns – favourite for the 2000 Guineas before a setback ruled him out.

Given the unbeaten Toronado prevailed by just half a length in their previous clash change in tactics combined with a 3lb weight advantage could be enough to see him reverse placings with Toronado at Newmarket.

Richard Hannon is two-handed in the race and his second runner Havanna Gold is rated to compete, however stable jockey Richard Hughes has not been tempted to desert Toronado in his favour.

The four way dance is round off by Godolphin’s Tawhid who improved drastically for soft ground last term, posting four-length-plus wins on his last two starts. After the first of those triumphs jockey Silvestre De Sousa suggested he’d won in spite of the soft ground, but Saeed Bin Suroor’s colt duly bolted up on heavy ground next time.

Given that his earlier failures on good ground could have been down to greenness rather than an aversion to a sounder surface he looks very much the dark horse in the race.