Hannon's Boy packs a punch

A divisional title is not usually decided so early in the piece, but at Newbury yesterday Paco Boy laid down a formidable marker in the season's first top-level contest for older milers, the Lockinge Stakes. The five-year-old, now in his full physical prime after earlier problems, scored a relatively narrow victory but in so doing oozed that ephemeral quality, class, as he demonstrated the instant, devastating acceleration invariably associated with champions.

Paco Boy, the 8-11 favourite to see off his eight rivals, took an over-enthusiastic hold of his bit in the early stages as the outsiders Stimulation and Prince Of Dance towed the field down the centre of the straight eight, but soon settled in Richard Hughes's hands and thereafter it was clear he was galloping supremely easily.

Hughes had the luxury of being able to switch position to achieve his optimum run through, and for a heartbeat going to the final furlong it seemed that he might have overdone the confidence as Ouqba, out of his eyeline on the far side of the pack, got first run on the attack to the line. But only for a heartbeat; one shake of the reins, one flick of the whip and Paco Boy cut down the leader in six electric strides. His three-quarters of a length winning margin was a gross underestimation of his superiority and the first two were nearly four lengths in front of Lord Shanakill.

"He is just explosive," Hughes said, "and all you can do wrong on him is to get there too soon. The zip he has can take him past any horse, but you have to save it for the very end."

Anyone who has ever tried to run for a train with a stone in a shoe will empathise with Paco Boy, who spent much of last season footsore. After running fourth in last year's edition of yesterday's race he was found to have an infected hoof, and it says much for his resilience as well as his talent that he was able to compete so well at the highest level afterwards.

Now, with his physique mature and his mind no longer compromised by the notion of discomfort, he has shown what he can really do, and his next target will be a repeat Queen Anne Stakes victory at Royal Ascot next month.

"He's a better horse this year than last," confirmed Richard Hannon, "and he'll be hard to beat. I train 200 horses and it's rare to find one like him."

The Classic generation get to strut their stuff again today at Longchamp, where 16 line up for the French version of the 2,000 Guineas, including Paco Boy's stablemate Dick Turpin, runner-up in the real thing on the Rowley Mile 15 days ago. The Alain de Royer-Dupre-trained Siyouni will lead the home defence.

However she fares, there was no Classic double in the States last night. Lookin At Lucky, sixth when favourite for the Kentucky Derby, made amends in the Preakness Stakes for trainer Bob Baffert, with the Churchill Downs winner Super Saver only eighth.

Life and Style
The Google Doodle celebrating the start of the first day of autumn, 2014.
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
News
Former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, left, with her daughter, Bristol
newsShe's 'proud' of eldest daughter, who 'punched host in the face'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
News
i100
News
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
news
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Life and Style
food + drink
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
News
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
News
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Pharmaceutical Computer System Validation Specialist

£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pharmaceutical Computer ...

High Level Teaching Assistant (HTLA)

£70 - £90 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Higher Level Teaching Assist...

Teaching Assistant

£50 - £80 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Randstad Education is the UK...

Senior Java Developer - API's / Webservices - XML, XSLT

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently ...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments