Europe's champion two-year-old Toormore proved he remains the consummate professional at three after getting his season off to a solid start in the Novae Bloodstock Insurance Craven Stakes at Newmarket.
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The Qipco 2000 Guineas dream is still alive for the Middleham Park Racing Syndicate, even if a two-length defeat of The Grey Gatsby was not quite a margin to have connections of the hot Classic favourite Kingman running for the hills.
With his close market rival Be Ready nursed back a bitterly disappointing last, Toormore (evens favourite) led for the majority of the mile event and Ryan Moore was always able to keep the small field at arm's length.
Trainer Richard Hannon said: "He idled a bit and had a lot of daylight but every time Ryan gave him a kick he went on.
"He's not a flashy horse and he was never going to come here and win by six lengths even if he could.
"He is going to give the owners a lot of pleasure, has come here and won his trial and goes to the Guineas with a very good chance.
"He had a 3lb penalty today as well. He wasn't as impressive as Kingman (in the Greenham), but he's not that sort of horse."
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Although Hannon insisted no more could have been expected from the still unbeaten colt, Sky Bet were not impressed with the winner and eased him out to 6/1 (from 11/2) for the QIPCO 2000 Guineas.
Ante-post favourite Kingman is now their 6/5 market leader (from 11/8).
"Although Toormore remains unbeaten, Kingman fans are unlikely to lose any sleep after that performance and we've shortened the favourite again on the back of that race," said Sky Bet's Michael Shinners.