RACING: Craven target for Toormore

This Is Wiltshire: Richard Hannon junior (right), with his champion trainer father, who retired at the end of last year Richard Hannon junior (right), with his champion trainer father, who retired at the end of last year

WILTSHIRE-TRAINED Toormore is set to warm up for the Qipco 2000 Guineas in the Craven Stakes over the Classic course and distance of the Rowley Mile.

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 Collingbourne Ducis.

"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.

"We were quite lucky that Toormore is at Everleigh and the piece of work took place at their other base at Herridge, so he almost had a bit of an away day travelling six miles across town to do the piece of work.

"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 100 per cent fit if we are to have any chance of beating him - we need to be cherry-ripe.

"It was Richard Hannon senior'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.

"He looked magnificent on Saturday. He's not quite there in his coat yet and it was a cold morning, but he worked well. That should have brought him on.

"The talk was to go for the Craven."

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

MORE SPORTS NEWS & PICTURES IN THURSDAY'S GAZETTE & HERALD

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