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Toronado (red): clashes with Dundonnell again at Newmarket on Thursday

  PICTURE: David Cramphorn  

Toronado out to press Guineas claims in Craven

THE girls strutted their stuff on Wednesday, but on Thursday it is the turn of the boys to stake their Classic claims at Newmarket's Craven meeting, as a select quartet do battle in the Novae Bloodstock Insurance-backed feature.

Richard Hannon was successful in the Craven last season with Trumpet Major, who subsequently finished fourth behind Camelot in the Qipco 2,000 Guineas, and this time saddles the exciting favourite Toronado.

Unbeaten in three starts as a juvenile, Toronado signed off last season with a half-length victory against Dundonnell at Doncaster, who again opposes in today's Classic trial.

A best-priced 7-1 for the Guineas, Toronado is also considered a contender for the Derby by connections, with Sheikh Joaan Bin Hamad Al Thani recently purchasing the colt.

Hannon said: "He is unbeaten and we have always thought the world of him, but he only beat Dundonnell half a length in the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster in September and is now 3lb worse off, so he has to show us that he has improved through the winter. We think he has but we need to see it on the track."

With Midday in foal to Frankel, the expectations for what ability the progeny may possess were raised further on Wednesday as Hot Snap, a half-sister to Midday, hurtled into the Qipco 1,000 Guineas picture with a taking victory in the Nell Gwyn.

The filly came from last to first to defeat Group 1 winner Sky Lantern by two and a quarter lengths for the powerful triumvirate of Sir Henry Cecil, Khalid Abdullah and Tom Queally.

As big as 40-1 before the race, Hot Snap is now favourite with several firms at 5-1, including Coral, who cut her from 20-1.

Spokesman David Stevens said: "Sir Henry Cecil has trained some legendary fillies in his illustrious career and the well-bred Hot Snap could join that club on the evidence of this trial success that has taken her to the head of the Qipco 1,000 Guineas market."

Earlier on the card, Garswood advertised his 2,000 Guineas credentials with a sweeping success in the Free Handicap for the in-form Richard Fahey, who is keen to have a crack at the Guineas, and Garswood was trimmed to 25-1 (from as big as 66-1) for the race.

Improvisation, the first winner in Britain for Godolphin this year, is now as short as 20-1 for the Investec Derby following his victory in a 1m2f maiden which has produced a string of above average winners in the past.

The ground remained good at Newmarket on Wednesday evening although clerk of the course Michael Prosser has not ruled out the possibility of a shower before racing on Thursday.

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