Well-regarded juvenile Toronado maintained his unbeaten record with a game front-running performance in Saturday's Group 2 Champagne Stakes on the St Leger undercard at Doncaster.
Trained by Richard Hannon and ridden by Richard Hughes, the 11-4 chance showed a very willing attitude as he held off the challenge of 5-6 favorite Dundonnell to score by a half-length in the seven-furlong contest.
"I always thought that he was a good horse," Hughes said. "I can only go on feel, but today he proved that he was a good horse.
"I was in a Catch 22 -- this horse needs a mile, but I wasn't going to go fast enough to set it up for the rest. Although I wasn't going that fast, it wouldn't have really suited me either.
"He has a lovely way of galloping with a beautiful action - it's a pleasure to be on him."
"We were worried it might not be far enough for him today," assistant trainer Richard Hannon Jr. said, "so I told Richard to go out and make it a test.
"The horse has done it the hard way and they all had their chance to go past him. I would say he is probably about as good a colt as we have got this year.
"All being well, he could come back here for the Racing Post Trophy (Group 1 at a mile October 27). He was bought in France so there would be a premium if we went for the Prix Jean Luc Lagardere (Group 1 on October 7 at Longchamp), so that is another option to consider.
"He will be aimed at the (Group 1 Two Thousand) Guineas next year and maybe the (Group 1) Derby. Who knows, we may have a Triple Crown horse!
"He is a very sound horse and the ground seems no problem for him. Physically, he is as nice a horse as you've seen."
Roger Charlton, trainer of runner-up Dundonnell, is looking forward to stepping up to a mile.
"I thought he ran very well, we were just beaten by a better horse I guess," Charlton said. "There are no excuses/ James (Doyle, jockey) had a big problem pulling him up -- again. He went miles down the back straight, so a mile will suit and maybe a slightly better pace would help. I thought he had every chance."
Dundonnell holds entries in the (Group 2) Royal Lodge and the (Group 1) Dewhurst, both held at Newmarket on September 29 and October 13 respectively, but Charlton was noncommittal about the colt's next appearance.
"There is no decisions as to where he is going to run at this stage -- there is no need to rush a decision." Charlton said.
Hannon went into the Group 2 Park Stakes double-handed, but it was the less fancied of his two runners, 16-1 shot Libranno, that came up with the spoils, winning by a half-length from Pastoral Player.
"He did it well, he's a very good horse when he is on song," Hannon Jr. noted. "His form goes up and down, but when he is on form he is a very hard horse to beat.
"I am a bit disappointed with Strong Suit (fourth as the 6-4 favorite). He was on and off the bridle and didn't get much luck in running I thought this was a race he could win but take nothing away from the winner, he did it very well."
"I don't know about (plans for) either, we will sleep on it and speak to the owners.
"Strong Suit is going to be stallion at some point so I will have to talk to David (Redvers, racing manager for Qatar Racing) who is in America at the moment about him. We will talk to Libranno's owners (McDowell Racing) as to future plans later."