Friday 21 November 2014

Classic hopeful Toormore set for taste of 'dip' in Craven

Keith Hamer

Published 25/03/2014 | 02:30

Richard Hughes riding Toormore (R) on their way to winning The Veuve Clicquot Vintage Stakes at Goodwood racecourse on July 31, 2013
Richard Hughes riding Toormore (R) on their way to winning The Veuve Clicquot Vintage Stakes at Goodwood racecourse on July 31, 2013
Australia's trainer, Aiden O'Brien

Leading English 2,000 Guineas hope Toormore is set to warm up for the Classic in the Craven Stakes.

Connections of last season's champion European two-year-old are leaning towards the Group Three at Newmarket on April 17 rather than the Greenham Stakes at Newbury the previous Saturday.

Plans for the unbeaten colt were discussed when owners Middleham Park Racing saw Toormore work at the stables of Richard Hannon in Wiltshire.

"The Craven is the plan. We were at the Hannons on Saturday with all our owners to see the horses out," said Middleham Park's racing manager Tim Palin.

"He did a piece of work with Annunciation and Anjaal. Everything went fine, and Richard Hughes described it as a good exercise gallop.

"The thinking behind the Craven was there seems to be a lot of confidence behind Australia (trained by Aidan O'Brien), and if he is as good as everyone says he is we need to be 100pc fit if we are to have any chance of beating him – we need to be cherry-ripe.

EXPERIENCE

"It was Richard Hannon Snr's idea to go to Newmarket rather than Newbury (for the Greenham) to give him experience of going into the dip. He's a very good striding horse and it might be worth going there despite having a 3lb penalty.

"We are almost adamant that a mile will suit him better than seven furlongs and it looks like a lot of speed horses will be going for the Greenham.

"We just think the mile at Newmarket should play to the strengths of our horse, and the Hannons have won the Craven for the last two years."

Toormore won all his three starts as a juvenile, culminating in the Group One National Stakes at the Curragh in September.

Meanwhile, connections of 1,000 Guineas candidate Rizeena believe their filly will be even stronger this season.

Trained by Clive Brittain, Rizeena had a busy time of it last year, running eight times, but it showed no signs of catching up with her.

After finishing fifth on her debut at Newmarket's Craven meeting, she was only once out of the first two, when an unlucky third against the colts in the Prix Morny.

She then landed the Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh before finishing second to subsequent Breeders' Cup winner Chriselliam in the Fillies' Mile.

"She's done her first bit of work," said Bruce Raymond, racing manager to Rizeena's owner Sheikh Rashid Dalmook Al Maktoum.

"The one thing you can guarantee is that she'll be fit enough. She has done exceptionally well over the winter – I think she's one of the worthy favourites."

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