RICHARD HANNON REFLECTS ON AN AUGUST TO REMEMBER INCLUDING A CAREER FIRST
by Mark Souster
August has been a month which Richard Hannon will not forget in a hurry. His form has been as hot as the temperature gauge.
The haul has included a first ever five timer at a single meeting at odds of 4,458-1, passing another 100 winners for the season (and counting) and group successes at Goodwood and York where he also unveiled a colt who could possibly become racing’s next superstar.
Classic winner Billesdon Brook came good again at the ‘Glorious’ meeting while Threat was victorious in the Gimcrack Stakes. But it was Mums Tipple who really set tongues wagging after his imperious 11 length saunter in the Goffs Premier Yearling Stakes at the Ebor meeting which earned him a 12-1 quote for the 2000 Guineas.
“I've never seen a two-year-old win like that,” Hannon says. “And I haven't seen any horse win like that for a long time, let alone one of ours. He will probably go (next) for the Middle Park or Mill Reef, but I'm not sure yet.
“I have never been on a racecourse where there was such a fever about a horse - some people saying he was like Frankel. I’m not sure that’s the case, but he was extremely impressive. I hoped he’d win but didn’t think he would by that distance with a 5lb penalty. He could be anything.”
His next race? “I have left him in a few. Probably it will be the Middle Park and Threat is in the Middle Park and the Dewhurst. They’re the type of horses you want. That’s what we have been trying to get for the past couple of years, horses which are Guineas horses for next year.”
He described his Newbury nap hand at the start of the month as “unbelievable”, adding: “I’m not sure I have even had four winners on one card before so this is amazing. I didn’t see it coming. Five winners in a day is unbelievable.
“Of course you set yourself goals but you never really make them public. You want the horses to run as well as they can for as long as they can and keep the owners happy.”
Elsewhere only this week Elysium Dream a filly owned by the England cricketers Stuart Broad, Jimmy Anderson and Eoin Morgan came back into training. They’re no doubt hoping that Ben Stokes might decide to get involved! Either way, the Ashes stardust is certainly being sprinkled liberally around Everleigh, Hannon’s yard near Marlborough in Wiltshire.
And in another first, he is opening up his stable to the public on Sunday in aid of two charities – Wiltshire Air Ambulance and Greatwood which looks after former racehorses and uses many of them to help with children with special educational needs.
“The air ambulance has been a big help and we need to support them. When lads fall off they are there straight away and that is very important. Greatwood do great work too. It is nice to give something back and allow people to see what goes on behind the scenes at a big yard.”
All in all there hasn’t been much time for his feet to touch the ground this Summer, especially with his 240 horses making him the biggest trainer in Britain.
“Yeah it hasn’t been bad,” he says. “There are a lot of trainers north of 200 horses. It is getting harder, margins get tighter,” he explains. “Staffing is more expensive. We are working on a 40 hour week and staff get a lot of overtime and it costs. You have to budget for that.”
Two of those horses, Sun Power and Man of the Night are due to take part in the Group 3 Solario Stakes, the highlight of this Saturday’s Sandown Park card with the two year old colts and geldings taking centre stage.
John Gosden has taken the race six times, with Raven’s Pass, Kingman and Too Darn Hot among them and Masar is another success story of recent vintage.
Despite the scintillating form of his yard, Hannon is not expecting to win the race.
But he admits excitement levels are high. “Good horses change everything; the potential, the excitement. That is what the whole industry is based upon. It is about that lottery ticket – we are selling the dream and trying not to deliver the nightmare.
“You get both sides of it in this game but it is nice to be able to think you can have the upside. It keeps you warm during the winter when the dark nights come.”