Toormore puts classic credentials on the line in Craven Stakes
Toormore will face just five rivals as he put his 2000 Guineas credentials on the line in the Craven Stakes at Newmarket on Thursday, April 17th.
Richard Hannon’s colt was unbeaten in three runs as a juvenile, with his last success coming in the Group 1 National Stakes at the Curragh where he showed a good turn of score comprehensively by 2 3/4 lengths from Sudirman and Giovanni Boldini.
That win earned him the status of champion two-year-old with an official rating of 122, and he is currently rated 4lb superior to impressive Greenham Stakes winner Kingman who was given an official British Horseracing Authorty mark of 118 for his Newbury success.
Kingman, who is the 11/8 favourite with Coral for the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on May 3rd, was also rated 11lb inferior to Toormore as a juvenile.
That suggests that a smooth victory for Toormore in the Craven Stakes will make him a live contender for the colt’s classic.
The son of Arakan is bidding to become the first horse in a decade to complete the Craven Stakes/2000 Guineas double, with the last horse to do so being Haafhd in 2004.
The Hannon stable has won the last two runnings of the Craven Stakes with Trumper Major and Toronado, and both those horses went on to finish fourth at Newmarket.
Toormore, who is currently 5/1 third favourite with Coral for the Guineas, has a 3lb penalty to carry in the Craven due to the fact that he was successful in Group 1 company last season.
However, he looks to face a relatively straight forward task on paper and his handler reports him to be in terrific shape.
Hannon told his wesbite: “He thrived through the winter and has been working well this spring, and we think that he will love the track. He is such a great mover, so the Rowley Mile should suit him.”
Toormore’s main rival on form is his stable companion Anjaal, who also has to shoulder a 3lb penalty as a result of winning the Group 2 July Stakes at Newmarket as a juvenile.
The son of Bahamian Bounty went on to finish a creditable fourth to War Command in the Dewhurst Stakes on his only subsequent start, but appears not to have the class of Toormore and is officially rated 11lb inferior.
The Godolphin-owned Be Ready, who impressively beat Toormore’s stable companion Barley Mow by three lengths in a Listed race at Doncaster in September, is another interesting contender in the Craven as he falls into the “could be anything” category having raced just twice.
The field is completed by Kevin Ryan’s The Great Gatsby, Luca Cumani’s Postponed and Marco Botti’s Patentar, who won his only start in good style at York.