Hannon jnr: Take two will make the cut

Canford Cliffs ridden by Richard Hughes (centre) goes on to win the Sussex Stakes during day two of the Glorious Goodwood Festival at Goodwood racecourse, Chichester.
Canford Cliffs ridden by Richard Hughes (centre) goes on to win the Sussex Stakes during day two of the Glorious Goodwood Festival at Goodwood racecourse, Chichester.
The start of racing on Washout Wednesday / Picture by Malcolm Wells

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Richard Hannon jnr is confident the sequel to the Duel On The Downs will be a box-office hit.

The original, which saw Frankel take on Canford Cliffs in the Sussex Stakes in 2011, proved to be a flop as the former cruised to a comfortable victory.

Defending champion Canford Cliffs was not at his best that day, according to his trainer Richard Hannon.

However, Frankel went on to confirm himself as the world’s top miler by retaining the Group 1 title in 2012 before retiring as the greatest horse for a generation – possibly the best ever.

Now Goodwood punters are licking their lips at a new showdown between the finest two milers currently in training.

And Wiltshire handler Hannon and his son, who is the assistant trainer at their Everleigh base, will be involved again.

Their talent, Toronado, will attempt to spoil the party of champion-elect Dawn Approach.

Dawn Approach beat his biggest rival by a neck in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot – but only after Toronado had been hampered when laying down his challenge.

The Hannon camp were adamant their charge would have won and immediately targeted a rematch.

That showdown will take place in the Sussex Stakes – the feature race of the five-day Glorious Goodwood festival, which begins on Tuesday, July 30.

And Hannon jnr reckons this tear-up will live up to its billing – unlike the Canford Cliffs battle with Frankel.

He said: ‘We were unlucky in the race at Ascot.

‘I thought we came there to beat Dawn Approach but to his credit he stayed on and beat us.

‘He’s a hard horse to go past.

‘I’m not saying we’ll beat Dawn Approach but we are fully entitled to take him on again.

‘Our horse is very good and it is going to be an awesome race at Goodwood if there is same distance between them – a bit closer than Frankel and Canford Cliffs!’

Toronado was fourth behind Dawn Approach in the 2,000 Guineas before their clash at Ascot.

But Hannon jnr is certain the three-year-old son of High Chaparral is a different horse now.

He has backed jockey Richard Hughes to get the best out of him at Goodwood.

‘Toronado didn’t run his race in the Guineas.

‘He definitely put that to bed at Ascot.

‘He’s going very well now and is very relaxed.

‘We’ll leave the riding plans to Hughesie as Goodwood can be a difficult course and things can go spectacularly wrong at times.

‘He won’t be ridden just to beat Dawn Approach, though, there will probably be eight or nine others in there to negotiate.

‘Havana Gold (winner of Group 1 Prix Jean Prat at Chantilly last month) has come out of his race in France well and there’s a chance he might show up in the Sussex Stakes, too.’

Havana Gold is currently rated 116, while Toronado and Dawn Approach are split by just 1lb at 123 and 124.