RACING: Hannon's high hopes for Royal Ascot
WILTSHIRE trainer Richard Hannon believes Toronado represents his best chance of a winner as he puts the finishing touches to his team ahead of his first Royal Ascot as a trainer in his own right.
Runner-up to Dawn Approach in the St James's Palace Stakes 12 months ago, Toronado arrives in Berkshire this year without the aid of a previous run.
He has not been sighted since he disappointed on his first run over 10 furlongs in the Juddmonte International at York and a Breeders' Cup bid was subsequently abandoned after he failed to shine in gallop at Lingfield.
However, confidence is sky high in the Hannon camp at Herridge and Everleigh and the first-season handled is not perturbed by the fact Toronado will be having his first run of the season in top-class company.
"Like my dad, all I ever ask for is at least one winner at Royal Ascot, and I suppose our best chance comes in the very first race, with Toronado in the Queen Anne Stakes," said Hannon, who assisted his father when Paco Boy and Canford Cliffs won this race twice in three years for the yard.
"This has always been Toronado's first target, and his preparation could not have gone better.
"He's in great nick and we've been very happy with him going in. His work has been good. He will improve for it, but I'd be disappointed if he didn't win.
"He won the Craven first time out last year, so we don't see lack of a prep-race being a problem, and we were all very impressed when we went a mile on the grass up at Everleigh last week, looking every inch the horse we think he is.
"However, now he has to go and do it on the track again - fingers crossed he'll come through the test with flying colours.
"It's the best meeting of the year, no doubt there are some great horses running, but hopefully a few of our big guns can win early on in the week."
Hannon also runs Producer, ridden by Ryan Moore, and he added on www.richardhannonracing.co.uk: "We also run Producer here rather than having him hump a big weight in the Royal Hunt Cup.
"He has not run since winning a Group Two in Turkey last year, but he is very well and with place money down to sixth, who knows."
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