By Simon Jackson at Newbury.
Top Notch Tonto is reported to be in ‘great form’ by trainer Brian Ellison ahead of the Group 1 JLT Lockinge Stakes, the feature at Newbury on Saturday.
The four-year-old is set to clash again with Olympic Glory who beat him by three and a quarter lengths into second in the £750,000 Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot on Champions Day last year.
The Ascot run continued his rapid progress last season and followed a Listed win at Redcar and a Group 3 victory at Haydock.
“Top Notch Tonto is in great form, he’s done well over the winter and has probably improved having grown stronger. We’re really happy with him,” Ellison said ahead of the £200,000 contest on the second of Newbury’s two day meeting.
“We always thought he was Listed class but to run as well as he did on QIPCO British Champions Day was amazing and he’s never stopped improving.
“I think in his last three races he beat around a dozen Group horses. It was the best day’s training I’ve had, it was fantastic.”
Meanwhile at Newbury on Friday, Volume led all the way to land the Listed Swettenham Stud Fillies’ Trial Stakes where she was the first of four winners on the day for Richard Hughes.
The champion jockey added victories on Kastini, Arab Dawn and Musical Comedy to his success on the Luca Cumani-trained Volume. The filly may now be aimed at the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot, in preference to the Oaks; after landing the 10 furlong contest.
“The idea was to possibly make the running if nothing else wanted to and just to ride her and forget about what else that was in the field and forget about what anybody else was doing,” Sara Cumani said.
“Richard said she jumped out nicely and found herself in front and he was happy to let her go for it. They went a nice even pace. She has a high cruising speed and is very genuine and did it well.
“We are very pleased. She is a beautiful filly, so it is exciting. I don’t know where she will go next, but Richard said he didn’t think she would handle Epsom. The Ribblesdale is a possibility.
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