CRAVEN STAKES (Group 3)
Newmarket, Turf, 1600m
19 April 2013
You can either look upon this as a commercial punt, or you can read it for its historic value. We know we’re biased about High Chaparral and his progeny by reason of his presence here of his highest-rated Northern Hemisphere son, Golden Sword, but in the space of four days, we’ve witnessed two world class performances that demand a mention.
When It’s A Dundeel crushed his rivals by a growing six lengths in last Saturday’s Australian Derby (Gr.1), he wrote a new chapter in the history of their Triple Crown. His winning margin was the biggest since Prince Grant in 1965, and he became the first Triple Crown winner since Octagonal, as celebrated a racehorse as Australasia has known, and in Timeform’s opinion, his 127+ made him the top-rated Australian Derby ace in the past 20 years.
Just last week, his unbeaten son, Toronado, paralysed his opposition in England’s principal Guineas trial, the Craven Stakes, giving notice that Golden Sword’s reign as the best of his sire’s stock in those parts, is on the brink of extinction.
Racing Post’s Mike Riley was overcome to the degree of saying: “It wouldn’t be a surprise if Toronado goes on to have a race named in his honour, such was the impression he created. It was the sort of performance that oozed class, Richard Hughes motionless throughout, until gently pushing his mount out to the line inside the final furlong with no need to even consider the whip for an authoritative romp.
“He’s a machine. He quickened, and he quickened again. He’s a very good horse. He’ll come back here for the Guineas and whatever beats him will win,” said a delighted Richard Hannon, his trainer.
“The second [Havana Gold - also trained by Hannon] is no mug either. I said to Hughesie if it got messy let him run as we know he stays.” Hughes added: “I’d have been gutted if he hadn’t won like that. He quickened away, and when he got into the Dip he went away again up the hill. Not many do that.” Toronado piled the pace on, and blew his rivals out the back door, and then, when asked to quicken, the response was impressive. He confirmed he was comfortably better than very good horses. Nothing he has met so far has been able to live with him.
On the prospect of Toronado staying the Derby trip, Hannon added: “I’ve no doubt he’ll get a mile and a half, and he’s got the speed to go round Epsom, and if he does that, I might retire.” While Hughes added: “He’s bred to get the Derby trip, but now he’s stronger, he’s got a bit more pace.”