CHAMPION trainer Richard Hannon believes he has every chance of his yard landing a third Sussex Stakes victory in five years when Toronado defends his crown at Glorious Goodwood.
Hannon senior, who has handed over his trainer’s licence to son Richard, won the £300,000 festival showpiece with Canford Cliffs in 2010 and again last year with Toronado.
This year’s race, on Wednesday, July 30, is set to see Toronado bid to follow in Frankel’s footsteps and become only the second horse to win the race twice, with top three-year-old miler Kingman the obvious obstacle standing in his way.
The Hannons threw open their Herridge stables on Monday to show not only how Toronado was shaping up ahead of Glorious but also an impressive string of other runners likely to be seen at the festival.
They include Toormore, who could be one of the favourites in the Lennox Stakes on the opening day; Estidhkaar, who may run in the Vintage Stakes following a fine win in the Group 2 Superlative Stakes at Newmarket at the weekend, and Richmond Stakes contender Kool Kompany.
Hannon said he was delighted with Toronado’s work this year. He won the top-grade Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot in his only run this year.
Hannon said: “He’s as good a horse as we’ve had here. He’s on a par with Canford Cliffs.
“I’m not sure Kingman will act on the track, whereas we are proven on it. They don’t all handle the downhill there, but he’ll take a lot of beating if he does act on it.
“Toronado is in great order and he’s come on from Royal Ascot, where Hughesie was adamant he blew up half a furlong out.
“He’s had his problems and has had two wind ops, but he has a spoon bit and noseband now.
“He needed that run at Ascot and has come on a ton. We could not be more pleased with him.”
Kingman is trained by John Gosden, who is currently about £40,000 in prize money ahead of Hannon junior in the champion trainer’s stakes, which means Glorious week looks like being pivotal to the outcome of that battle.
Hannon has an unrivalled record at Goodwood and is confident of another successful year in their first Glorious since his son took over as trainer, with Hannon senior now his assistant.
Magic City and Viewpoint are two Hannon runners with Goodwood success on their CVs who are likely to run in handicaps during the week.
The Hannons hope to get their Glorious campaign off to the perfect start with a Group 2 success on day one in the bet365 Lennox Stakes with Toormore.
“He’s in the Lennox which should be ideal,” said Hannon. “He has disappointed us this season. His coat was not right when he ran in the 2,000 Guineas but he looks great now.”
Exciting two-year-old Ivawood is entered in the Richmond Stakes along with Kool Kompany, while Estidhkaar would be following in Toormore if he can win the Vintage.
Hannon said: “Estikhadaar’s a very good horse – he’s got gears, like his old man!”
Goodwood racecourse managing director Adam Waterworth was delighted to see the Hannon horses looking primed for their visit.
“Having the Hannons on our doorstep and seeing Goodwood high on their list of priorities is wonderful for us,” he said.
“The main thing at the moment is that Toronado is on course for the Sussex Stakes, which is shaping up to be a memorable renewal.”