For the second time this season the high-class miler Toronado has been found to be suffering breathing problems during a race and looks set to have another minor operation, writes Elliot Slater.
Connections will hope surgery will correct the difficulty that saw him flop so badly at York on the opening day of the Ebor Festival when trailing home last of the six runners behind Declaration of War in the Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes.
The clash between the Richard Hannon-trained star and the five-year-old Coral Eclipse Stakes winner Al Kazeem had been built up in racing betting markets to be the highlight of the four-day fixture, the recent brilliant Sussex Stakes winner bidding to take the step up to ten furlongs for the first time in his long, raking stride. But from an early stage jockey Richard Hughes said that the son of High Chaparral didn’t feel quite right, and once asked for his effort some three furlongs from home he fell apart and Hughes sensibly allowed him to come home in his own time.
At the business end of the contest the betting favourite Al Kazeem failed to find his usual turn of foot on the prevailing fast ground, and it was the Aidan O’Brien trained Queen Anne Stakes-winner Declaration of War (7/1) who once again showed what a tough cookie he is by storming away to beat Irish Derby winner Trading Leather. Al Kazeem could only finish third.
Toronado now seems set to undergo a second soft palate operation, a minor procedure that made all the difference after a similar problem was diagnosed when the champion trainer’s colt finished a disappointing fourth in the 2000 Guineas behind his old rival Dawn Approach.
With only a two week recovery period from the procedure connections are optimistic Toronado can return to his best this campaign and he may well bid for the QEII Stakes at Ascot or even the Breeders’ Cup Mile at the end of the term.