Champion colt hopes for Toormore
Connections of Toormore believe the result of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf has boosted his chances of being hailed European champion two-year-old colt.
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Outstrip and Giovanni Boldini, who were first and second in the Santa Anita Grade One on Friday night, were beaten by Toormore in the Vintage Stakes and National Stakes respectively.
While that pair were in action, Toormore is now in his winter quarters after being put away for the season. He ended 21013 undefeated after taking his 100 per cent record to three in the National Stakes at the Curragh in September, giving owners Middleham Park Racing and trainer Richard Hannon dreams of Classic success.
"We tuned into the Breeders' Cup hoping for something like that to happen. We don't know what the handicappers will do with that, but it certainly isn't going to hinder our chances of being champion two-year-old colt. Hopefully it will bolster it," said Middleham Park's Tim Palin.
"Whatever form line you look down they all seem to lead to Toormore. He's the one at the top of the tree.
"There are a couple of unknown quantities like Australia and Kingman, but there's is Group Three form and though they may be very good horses in time I don't know if they can challenge us for champion two-year-old status. Kingston Hill could be in the mix, but a maiden, Johann Strauss, was second and another maiden (Dolce N Karama) was fourth.
"I think when the form anoraks scratch beneath the surface they might decide that Toormore's National Stakes was the best two-year-old performance of the season.
"He's in great shape. We thought of supplementing him for the Dewhurst and we nearly ran him in the Racing Post Trophy, but the ground was never going to suit him. There was always the case he had nothing to prove as a two-year-old.
"We're going to give him time to grow and strengthen. We should see an even better and improved horse next year.
"Richard Hannon senior thinks we have as good a chance as anything in the Guineas, so all roads lead to Newmarket in May."
The Toormore team will firm up a plan in the spring and should he need a prep race ahead of the QIPCO 2000 Guineas then the Greenham Stakes at Newbury would be the logical target.
"We'll have a sit down in the spring and talk about where we go. It seems fashionable to go straight to the Guineas without a prep race, but if we felt he needed to run prior to then it would almost certainly be in the Greenham," said Palin.
"It's just round the corner for the horse at Newbury and there are no Group One penalties. Seven furlongs first time out for the season would be perfect. The horse couldn't be better.
"I don't think we will be throwing the kitchen sink at him. He'll be having fairly evenly spaced out races. The perfect scenario would be Greenham, 2000 Guineas, St James's Palace, Sussex Stakes and QEII. That's what makes sense.
"There will be other races outside the British Isles, but races here suited the greatest horse of all time (Frankel). It served him well. The plan would be to keep it simple with four or five runs."