Toormore is reported to be “back to his best” as he aims to bounce back to form in the bet365 Lennox Stakes on the opening day of Glorious Goodwood this afternoon.
Richard Hannon’s colt ended an unbeaten juvenile season as champion two-year-old after clinching Group One glory in the National Stakes at the Curragh and he looked every inch a Classic contender when making a winning return in Newmarket’s Craven Stakes in mid-April.
However, he could finish only seventh in the 2000 Guineas and was disappointing when sixth in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot. Toormore has his sights lowered for today’s seven-furlong Group Two and Tim Palin, racing manager for owners Middleham Park Racing, has been told to expect a big improvement on the Sussex Downs.
Palin said: “The reports are he’s back to his best. He’s moved from Everleigh to Herridge and the words of Richard Hannon Snr were ‘you’ll see a different Toormore at Glorious Goodwood’.
“He obviously won the Craven and we don’t really know what happened for the next three months. Nothing really came to light, but he lost weight, he was dull in his coat and wasn’t working as well as he can. We ran him in the Guineas and then the vibes weren’t great going into Royal Ascot, but there is only one St James’s Palace and we gave it a go. Maybe we shouldn’t have run him.
“He doesn’t carry his Group One penalty as it’s past the cut-off point now and he’s a course and distance winner having won the Vintage Stakes last year, so he’s going back to the scene of the crime. He won his Group One over seven furlongs and you could argue he might be better over that trip than at a mile.
“The Hannon horses are always in peak condition at this time of year, he’s drawn okay and I like the 7lb weight-for-age allowance. There really aren’t any negatives. The Hannons used this race as a confidence booster for Strong Suit a few years ago and it was a similar story with Garswood of Richard Fahey’s last year. We’re hoping Toormore will be the latest one to get his confidence boosted.
“We’d like to think if he wins we’ll be looking at Group Ones again, races like the Prix du Moulin and the Prix de la Foret. If he doesn’t win and maybe finishes a close second, we might look for another Group Two, something like the Celebration Mile.
“Hughesie [Richard Hughes] knows the place like the back of his hand and put him up as one of his best bets of the week recently. I hope he’s right.”
At Perth tonight, Karen McLintock is eyeing the feature race with Tyneside raider Carlito Brigante. The eight-year-old, who famously landed the 2011 Coral Cup while with Gordon Elliott, faces five rivals in the Orion Group Handicap Chase.
Newcastle-based McLintock, originally from Edinburgh, said: “He’s only had five starts for me and he’s a delightful horse. I’m hoping he will run a nice race but it looks competitive.”