Horses To Follow » Top Notch Tonto

Top Notch Tonto

Top Notch Tonto put up a really impressive performance to win the Listed Ganton Stakes over a mile at York on Saturday. Settled at the back of the nine runners by Silvestre de Sousa through the early stages of the race, Brian Ellison’s horse travelled well into the home straight. Moved to the near side by de Sousa two and a half furlongs out, he picked up impressively. He hit the front just inside the furlong pole, which was probably early enough, but he kept on well from there to withstand the late challenge from Gabrial, going on to win by a length and a half, with another length and a half back to Fire Ship in third.

This was much more like it from the Thousand Words gelding. This was his first win since he won a seven-furlong listed race at Redcar in October 2013. He has been highly tried in the interim, he has run in the last two renewals of the Lockinge Stakes, and he finished second to Olympic Glory in the 2013 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. The key to him is obviously easy ground, so the rain that fell at York on Saturday was obviously in his favour, and he probably put up his best performance here since he was beaten a head by the expertly-ridden Short Squeeze in a big-field handicap at York’s Ebor meeting last year.

He wore first-time cheekpieces on Saturday, he had reportedly worked well in the headgear beforehand, and that may have enabled him recover his old form. He goes well at York, his record there reads 3321, and he will be of interest now wherever he goes next as long as the ground is good or easier.

13th June 2015