Olympic Glory set to stand alone for Richard Hannon's challenge


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The Independent Online

Sky Lantern and Toronado are unlikely to run on Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday if the ground is soft, which would leave Olympic Glory as Richard Hannon's only runner in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.

All three horses hold entries in the Group One over a mile, while Sky Lantern has an alternative engagement in the Qipco Champion Stakes. While Olympic Glory is a certain runner, Toronado could be rerouted to the Breeders' Cup – with Sky Lantern also in the frame for a trip to Hong Kong.

"The filly [Sky Lantern] likes fastish ground and so does Toronado, but Olympic Glory could be the one for there [Ascot]," the Everleigh trainer said. "Ascot drains very quickly but I think there's more rain forecast, so we'll have to play it by ear up to D-day.

"Sky Lantern might go to Hong Kong. She wouldn't run on Saturday as it can be very soft down the back. She's had a long old year anyway.

"I would imagine, as it stands with the ground soft, Olympic Glory will go there, Toronado will go to the Breeders' Cup and the filly would probably go nowhere – or she might go to Hong Kong.

"The owner's from there and he'd definitely like a runner over there, but she needs to run in the mile and a quarter over in Hong Kong, not the mile. You're anybody's if you get drawn bad in that mile race. We're very happy with all three of them. Everything's going well with them."

The decision has also been taken to fit Olympic Glory with blinkers at Ascot. Richard Hughes, who will be back on board due to Frankie Dettori's injury, said: "They [the blinkers] will undoubtedly help Olympic Glory.

"We gave him a spin in them earlier in the week, and there was a positive reaction, and I would envisage it could make three lengths' difference, which would put him in there with a big shout."