Friday 24 October 2014

Hannon's California duo leave on Saturday

ALL the preparation work has been done with Toronado and Osaila, who leave for their Breeders Cup expedition in California on Saturday, and Harry Herbert, racing manager to Al Shaqab racing, is predicting a big run from both. 

He said:"I know that Olympic Glory disappointed in the Mile last year, but fast ground at Santa Anita was never going to be his bag, whereas Toronado will relish the underfoot conditions and has the tactical speed to be able to take a good position early on.

"Toronado is much more the straight-forward of the pair. We have been keeping them apart all season, but Olympic Glory went out on a high at Longchamp (Prix de la Foret), and now we hope that Toronado can do likewise before he, too, starts his new career at stud.

"This has always been the target for Toronado, who should be suited by the two-turn mile. He is versatile enough to be able to adapt wherever he is drawn, but obviously we are hoping for a single figure stall as it becomes very difficult if you are planted wide with the first bend coming up so quickly.

"Toronado is very much a fresh horse which is what you need for a Breeders Cup. He is one of the Sheikh's favourite horses, and apart from last year's Juddmonte, in which he swallowed his tongue, he has done nothing wrong. He won the Queen Anne first time out this year at Royal Ascot, lost nothing in defeat against Kingman in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood and last time out pushed Charm Spirit all the way in the Prix Moulin in France. That form received a boost in last week's QE11 at Ascot, so Toronado is entitled to be favourite.

"Osaila probably has a tougher task in the Juvenile Fillies Turf, but she is a different filly than she was in June and has improved 7lb. 

"Even though she won the Princess Margaret Stakes at Ascot on King George day, we knew that she would improve for going up in trip, and she duly confirmed that view when running a screamer in what was a very hot Moyglare Stud Stakes at The Curragh. 

"We then took Osaila to the big sales race at Newmarket and she won well, but she was starting to go in her coat and we had our doubts as to whether she should go to America or not. "However, she was clipped and now looks better, and her subsequent work in the mornings has encouraged us to give it a go. She will be one of the highest rated fillies in the race and deserves her chance. Granted a good draw, she will race handy and she will love the fast ground and the trip."