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Monday, 22 October, 2018

Acomb Stakes: Hannon reckons Goodwood winner Watan could be bound for the top

Ryan Moore punches Watan clear at the end of a Goodwood maiden last month
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2.25 York
Tattersalls Acomb Stakes | Group 3 | 2yo | 7f | ITV/RUK

Impressive Goodwood maiden winner Watan bids to give the Richard Hannon stable a first success in a Group 3 which has Classic winners King's Best and Rule Of Law on its roll of honour.

The bare form of the colt's win last month might be nothing to write home about, but the manner of his success, firmly in command towards the finish after running distinctly green, suggests there will be plenty more to come.

Watch Watan win on debut at Glorious Goodwood

Potentially the best we have seen so far from the first crop of Toronado, who was the apple of Hannon's eye, his trainer reckons he "could be the real deal" and has him entered in all of the big two-year-old races.

Hannon said: "We had to take our time with him early on because he suffered from sore shins, but thankfully our patience has been rewarded and he won very nicely at Goodwood. I think he’s improved a lot for that outing and the step up in trip will really suit.

"His work has always been good, and I’d like to think we’ll have plenty of fun with him as he’s a very exciting horse to have in the yard.

"Oisin [Murphy] had a sit on him last week and liked what he saw. The ground will be absolutely perfect."

Following in giant footsteps

Aidan O'Brien last won this in 2000 when Hemingway, who never raced again, made all to follow up a Galway maiden win. Broome's maiden win also came at Galway, and it was a comfortable one.

O'Brien said: "We have other options for the Futurity at the weekend so we thought it might do Broome good to bring him to York.

"Obviously he is dropping down from a mile to seven furlongs, and we do think he will want further in time, but we feel the experience of travelling over and running at York will stand him in good stead for the future. He is a nice horse who won nicely at Galway."

Broome (left) broke his maiden at Galway earlier this month

Course-and-distance winner has 'really good chance'

Persian Moon has improved with every race, and whereas others in the eight-runner field might have more potential, he has the form in the book.

Charlie Johnston, assistant to his father Mark, said: "He's improved hand over fist with every start and I thought he was pretty impressive when giving away a penalty to a horse who has won since at York last time, the pair of them a long way clear.

"You've got to respect rivals like Watan, but his experience will stand him in good stead and I think he's got a really good chance."

What the others say

Hugo Palmer, trainer of James Street
He's done nothing wrong in three starts and is one of the more experienced members of the field. He's got a good draw and I feel he will not just stay the extra furlong, but improve for it. Whether he improves enough we'll see.

Charlie Hills, trainer of Phoenix of Spain and Pogo
This has been the plan for Phoenix Of Spain since Wolverhampton and his work's been really good. I've been pleased with him and while this is a big step up in class, he's a nice, scopey horse with a good future. Pogo's owners are quite keen to run too and I thought it was worth having a go. He's got some solid form and, given it's the first day of the meeting, I'd think the ground will be beautiful.

Karl Burke, trainer of Swissterious
He's obviously got to step up on his Doncaster form, but it was a very good effort and he recorded a good speed figure. He's progressed and deserves to take his chance. He's a nice colt.

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I think he’s improved a lot and the step up in trip will really suit. He’s a very exciting horse to have in the yard
E.W. Terms
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