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Toronado gains sweet revenge

31 Jul 2013

Dawn Approach and Toronado met for the third time this afternoon in the QIPCO Sussex Stakes with Dawn Approach leading two-nil, but this time Toronado swooped late to steal the show and make the score two-one.

Hughes celebrates after partnering Toronado to a brilliant QIPCO Sussex Stakes victory. Image courtesy of racingfotos.com.

The smile of delight from Richard Hughes as he passed the post and the joy on the faces of Richard Hannon senior and junior said it all at Goodwood today as their stable star, Toronado, came with a powerful burst down the middle of the track to collar Dawn Approach and comfortably beat him by half a length, with Declaration Of War two and a half lengths back in third.

Dawn Approach had easily beaten Toronado in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas in May, but on that occasion Toronado had a breathing problem which explained his disappointing run.

Next time, there was just a short-head between them in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot, wiith the Hannon-Hughes team feeling that they had been denied victory by a bump which both Dawn Approach and Toronado received at a key point in the race and which may have affected Toronado more.

This time they were hopeful of revenge and so it proved.

A strong pace was soon set by Leitir Mor, Dawn Approach’s pacemaker and Dawn Approach was vigorously ridden by Kevin Manning to take it up with two furlongs to run.

He stretched clear, but Richard Hughes was sitting motionless on Toronado.

He galvanised his colt with over a furlong to run and he swooped past Dawn Approach well inside the final furlong for a cosy victory.

Declaration Of War ran a solid race in third with a big gap back to Trade Storm and Gregorian.

The victory takes Hughes to 100 points in the QIPCO British Champions Series jockeys’ table, 40 clear of Kevin Manning and Joseph O’Brien, and it also puts Richard Hannon level with Aidan O’Brien on top of the trainers’ table, both with 85 points.

Hughes said: "That was very sweet. Just when I kicked him in the belly, it wasn’t as instant on that ground as it would have been on fast ground.

"It was a great race and he was very brave, he’s brilliant.

"It was a true-run race and he was always travelling well but as I say, when I went to go it wasn’t quite as instant as it was in the mornings."

Hannon said: "Revenge is sweet I suppose, but they are two great horses.

"Richard Hughes said the other morning when he worked him that he was the best he had ever ridden. We’ve had some good horses, but he’s very good."

Hannon was asked if the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on QIPCO British Champions Day would be the next target and said "it could be" before dismissing the Breeders’ Cup as an option.

Richard Hannon junior, assistant to his father, said: "We are delighted to have won one and the fact we didn’t win the first two makes it that bit sweeter, I suppose.

"I don’t think he quite picked up like we expected on the ground. Dawn Approach kept going after hitting the front, he’s amazingly tough.

"What he does at home is clearly not normal, he’s unbelievable.

"We were concerned about the ground as he’s such a good-actioned horse and we thought it might not be in his favour, but we wouldn’t change anything now.

"It’s going to be a great episode if both go on to the QEII. Godolphin and John Ferguson were the first to come up and say ‘well done’."