04/16/2013 4:01PM

Newmarket: Toronado, Dundonnell sqaure of in Craven Stakes


Undefeated Toronado and talented Dundonnell, whose last start came in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, renew their acquaintance Thursday at Newmarket in the Group 3 Craven Stakes, a prep for the Group 1 English 2000 Guineas.

Toronado and Dundonnell, both of whom make their 3-year-old debut in Thursday’s seven-furlong race, squared off last year in the Group 2 Champagne Stakes in September at Doncaster, with Toronado taking early command of the race and holding clear a sustained charge from Dundonnell to win by a half-length. Toronado’s connections called it a season after the Champagne, putting their horse away for his 3-year-old season, while Dundonnell went on to Santa Anita, where he came home a respectable fourth of 14 – beaten 2 1/4 lengths by victorious George Vancouver – in the BC Juvenile Turf.

Toronado, a son of High Chaparral trained by Richard Hannon, easily won a maiden race at Newbury and a listed stakes at Ascot before his Champagne score, and he is widely listed as a distant second-choice behind Dawn Approach to win the 2000 Guineas on May 4 at Newmarket. Dundonnell, who beat the capable Steeler in the Group 3 Acomb Stakes before being defeated by Toronado, is roughly twice Toronado’s price in ante-post wagering on the 2000 Guineas. Dudonnell, a son of First Defence, is trained by Roger Charlton.

Just two other 3-year-olds were among the final declarations for the Craven: Havana Gold, another Hannon trainee, who won a Group 3 at age 2, and Tawhid, a Saeed bin Suroor-trained Godolphin colt who improved through a four-start juvenile season capped by a Group 3 win of his own.

Also on Newmarket’s card Thursday are two other Group 3 races, the Abernant Stakes over six furlongs for 3-year-olds and up, and the Earl of Sefton Stakes, a nine-furlong race headed by a pair of 4-year-olds, Bonfire and Stipulate, making their first start of 2013.