Richard Hannon has tools to see off Aidan O’Brien UK Trainer’s title bid
In the first two months of the 2012 Aidan O’Brien was sat at the wheel of the Ballydoyle bulldozer as his charges laid waste to the first four classics of the season, yet unbelievably he was collared by John Gosden in the season-long race to the UK trainer’s title.
Homecoming Queen, Was and the mighty Camelot were behind that glorious early season wave and given O’Brien had just 20 winners in the UK last year it will be the success of his runners in the classics that will decide the destination of the trainer’s title once more due to the immense financial rewards they offer.
Whereas last year O’Brien dominated the ante-post markets for the 2000 and 1000 Guineas as well as the Derby and Oaks courtesy of Camelot and Maybe, the betting for this year’s biggest races finds similarly positive portents for the man in the dark glasses in short supply.
Of the four classics for which odds are currently available O’Brien only has the favourite for the Derby and the upper echelons for the 2013 UK Fillies’ classics are a Ballydoyle-free-zone, with no runners from the yard puncturing the top five of the betting for either race.
Of his rivals for the crown Richard Hannon seems to boast a strong hand in the classics thanks not least to Olympic Glory, who has every hope of reversing the form with 2000 Guineas favourite Dawn Approach having finished just three quarters of a length in arrears when the pair met at Ascot last season.
The Malborough trainer’s Toronado is another inside the top five for both the UK’s colts-only classics and the yard also boast Sky Lantern, sixth in the betting for this year’s Oaks at Epsom.
Also in Hannon’s favour is the sheer number of runners his team turn out during the course of a campaign. In 2012 he saddled 1066 runners in the British Isles in comparison to O’Brien’s 73 and if he could snare even one of the classics sheer weight of runners could help him accumulate the necessary prize money to defy the Ballydoyle maestro in his bid for a first UK Trainer’s title since 2008.