Take on Toronado
Ian Ogg's horse-by-horse guide to Tuesday's Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot.
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The fact that connections have stumped up the supplementary fee ensures that this French raider warrants a second look, not least because they won this race with Goldikova in 2010. Only two wins in 10 starts but ran his best race to date in a Group One when second to Cirrus Des Aigles (Olympic Glory fourth) last time and could be progressing. He'll need to be in order to break his top-level duck here.
Has done his connections proud but flying too high in this company.
Just a maiden win to his name from 13 starts but he did beat all bar Dawn Approach in the 2013 Guineas and ran a fair fifth behind the same horse in the St James's Palace on this card last year. Something to find on the balance of his form but he's outrun his odds before and could conceivably do so again.
Mull Of Killough
Remarkable campaigner who has rarely let his team down during his world tour and, although Newmarket has brought out the best in him, he has run well at this track. There's nothing to suggest that he can trouble the principals, however, and minor honours are the goal.
Has yet to win beyond seven furlongs in Britain, lacks a run and lacks the form to play a leading role. Other than that, he has a fine chance......
Admirably consistent yardstick who picked up a Grade One prize in Australia last autumn and he's continued to run well in defeat ever since. Expect more of the same here and a repeat of his 2012 third in this race would represent another fine achievement.
Soft Falling Rain
Better judged on his defeat of Montiridge at Newmarket than his heavy defeat at this course on Champions Day when the ground went against him, a run that has helped make him the second highest rated runner in the race. Has had an interrupted preparation, however, with his trainer saying it was 'touch and go' whether he lined up just last month which makes him easy enough to pass over.
It would be no surprise to see the layers try and get this favourite in the book given that he hasn't been seen since disappointing at York in August. However, he possesses the best form, is proven on the track and has his ground and trip which all makes him the one to beat if he returns at his best and therein lies the problem given his cramped odds.
Has arguably shown career best form this season, slamming Montiridge in a Group Two before beating all bar that one's smart stablemate Olympic Glory in the Lockinge. That's form that entitles him to be contesting minor honours with the possibility of greater spoils if the favourite fails to perform.
This American import was expected to benefit from the outing when making his stable debut in the Lockinge so there are plenty of positives to be taken from his four length third. He wouldn't need to improve appreciably on that run to pose a live threat to Toronado.
Aidan O'Brien (three) and Richard Hannon senior have won five of the last eight renewals and it's hard to look beyond the representatives from those stables.
There has to be a nagging doubt with regard to Toronado given how lacklustre he was when last sighted and Verrazano is the obvious horse to take him on with given the level of form that he has already achieved and the potential to surpass it.
Given the concerns about the readiness of Soft Falling Rain for this task and the possibility that Toronado could bomb out again opens up some each-way possibilities with the likes of Anodin, Tullius and Side Glance all backable at double figure prices.