Toronado shines in Queen Anne
Richard Hannon Jr's first Royal Ascot runner turned out to be a winner as Toronado claimed the Queen Anne Stakes.
The younger Hannon took over from his father Richard this season and has already enjoyed Classic glory with Night Of Thunder and Group 1 success with Olympic Glory.
And he secured another big pot with the Al Shaqab Racing-owned colt on his seasonal debut, Toronado coming home under a stylish hands and heels ride by Richard Hughes to open the week-long festivities in impressive fashion.
Hughes was happy to sit in rear on last year's Sussex Stakes winner and started to make ground between the three and two-furlong markers, soon joining the sweet-moving Anodin and Verrazano as the early leaders began to feel the pace and dropped back.
He gave the four-year-old a couple of slaps and was soon a length clear, a gap he held all the way to the line to start the meeting in bad fashion for the bookies, the winner returning a well-supported 4/5 favourite.
Second-favourite Verrazano (6/1) finished second for Coolmore ahead of French raider Anodin (9/1) - he more than covered his £35,000 supplementary entry fee - and Tullius, who was one of the first horses off the bridle but stuck on well to claim fourth.
Hannon said: "It's lovely to get the meeting off to a start like that, he did it very well and is settling much better this year. Hughesie rode him with all the confidence in the world.
"I was nervous this morning, I feel a bit better now. It's great to get a win. It's great for the Sheikh, he's put a lot of money in and it's nice to see him get his reward.
"We'll stick to a mile with him, the Sussex Stakes is highly likely, there's also the Marois but Olympic Glory will probably run in that and then later there's the QEII."
Hughes added: "I'm very pleased. He was so relaxed in the race, I felt him blow up but he had a bit of class to get him through.
"I think any horseman in the world looking at him today will believe he is a better horse this year. I've always had belief in him, he's a wonderful horse. He's had a few problems, but they are behind him. I can enjoy myself now, there's no pressure!"
Harry Herbert, racing manager for owner Sheikh Joaan Al Thani's operation, said of the winner: "It's so exciting. I'm thrilled to bits for everyone involved. It's a great piece of training from Richard Hannon and his team.
"Hughesie loves this horse, the confidence going into the race was scary. If there was an issue it was he hadn't run for 300 days, which is a long time off in this sort of competition."
Verrazano, an import from the United States, appears set for a step up in trip with trainer Aidan O'Brien adding: "I'm delighted with him. That was a big run, I'd say an improvement from the Lockinge.
"He got warm, but he got warm before the Lockinge didn't he? I don't think it bothers him. He kept going well and will get a bit further so all those races like the Eclipse, Juddmonte and Irish Champion are open to him."