Richard Hannon stable tour
Richard Hannon went into last year with a hard act to follow, in the shape of his father and now, with a Classic win and a Royal Ascot Group 1 under his belt in his first season, he has a hard year to follow. The campaign has begun well, however, even though the Classic picture at Herridge and beyond has hardly been made clearer by the Craven and Greenham meetings.
“The start of the year has been a bit confusing,” says Hannon, “but we’ve finally completed £200,000 of drainage work on our main gallop to make it usable all year round. We won two of the four Guineas trials and were second in the Free Handicap and second and third in the Greenham, so we know they’re at the right level. “Now it’s a question of fine-tuning and finding a bit of improvement. “We’ve got some nice two-year-olds and I think we’ll be very strong in the mile division, both three-year-olds and older horses. All we need now is a Derby horse, which may be Moheet, or one of the juveniles who will perhaps prove up to the job next year. “We’ve never had horses like that before so it’s an ambition, but it’s not a change of policy. We’d like a bit of everything and a winner outside of Europe is high on our wish list, with the Melbourne Cup and Breeders’ Cup [after Osaila’s third in the Juvenile Fillies’ Turf last year] in our sights.”
Yards: Herridge and Everleigh Stables
Where: Collingbourne Ducis, Wiltshire
Finest hour: Night Of Thunder, a first Classic winner with his first Classic runner; and Toronado, his first Royal Ascot Group 1 with his first Royal Ascot runner
Assistant trainer: Richard Hannon snr
Head grooms: Tony Gorman and Steve Knight
Jockeys Richard Hughes, Frankie Dettori, Pat Dobbs, Paul Hanagan, Ryan Moore, Dane O’Neill, Sean Levey, Cam Hardie, Gary Mahon, Kieran O’Neill
3yo Kodiac – Kheleyf’s Silver
We asked her to do something we hadn’t asked her to do before, over 7f in her trial, and she did it very well – she just didn’t win, so we’ll carry on down the Guineas route – the Pouliches at Longchamp is also a possibility – on the basis we can always come back to 6f if it doesn’t work out. She settled lovely at Newbury and although she just didn’t quicken up like we hoped she would, she appeared to me to stay, even though she didn’t run to her best – and let’s not forget she was still third in a Group 3. She’s not the biggest filly but has been unbelievable and such a pleasure for all of us already. They’ve basically written a race for her at Royal Ascot this year – a Group 1 over 6f – and it’s nice to have that option.
3yo High Chaparral – Abunai
Looking back on it, I was pleased with his third behind Kool Kompany in the Craven – we got a little bit out of our ground and Hughesie rode a canny race in front. When he won his maiden at Salisbury by seven lengths he didn’t learn a thing and the undulations caught him out at Newmarket, but he’ll be a lot wiser next time. His home work is brilliant and he’ll go back there with a good chance. He could be a Derby horse as well, and they say the best trial for the Derby is the Guineas, don’t they?
4yo Kodiac – Hazium
Won his Group 3 on soft ground at Deauville at the end of last season and we’ll aim for Group 3s and maybe Group 2s – starting off with the Listed King Richard III Stakes at Leicester on Saturday. It will be a tough year for him but he looks particularly well.
4yo Royal Applause – Spinning Top
Won three times on easy ground as a two-year-old and landed the Listed Carnarvon Stakes for us at Newbury last year over 6f. He’s ready to go and is in the King Richard III Stakes over 7f at Leicester this weekend and also has an entry in the Group 2 Duke of York Stakes next month, but we’ll be careful not to send him anywhere where the ground is too fast, as he likes a bit of cut.
Night Of Thunder
4yo Dubawi – Forest Storm
His programme for the first part of the season is more or less written in stone: Lockinge followed by Queen Anne. After that it will be races like the Sussex, Moulin and Jacques le Marois, the very best contests around Europe, which are all races we know well. He may have a racecourse gallop before the Lockinge, in which he’ll take a lot of beating. Don’t forget, he’s the only horse to ever beat Kingman and was very unlucky in the QEII last year. He seems as good as ever and has done two or three bits of work with the Guineas horses. He’s sound, moving well and appears mentally very resilient – we can’t wait to get going with him.
5yo Dylan Thomas – Softly Tread
He did us proud last year and looked like he’d improved a bit when he was second under a 5lb penalty at Newbury on his reappearance in a Group 3 behind Arab Spring, needing the run but travelling well on the bridle for a long way. He’s in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes and the Tattersalls Gold Cup in Ireland and is a Melbourne Cup possible if he stays well enough. He can drop back to 1m2f if we need him to but clearly he gets 1m4f and that may turn out to be his optimum trip, although he could get even further, which would bring Australia into the equation. If that turned out to be the plan, we’d race him until Goodwood and then give him a break for an autumn campaign.
4yo Compton Place – Profit Alert
Runs in the bet365 Mile tomorrow – in fact, I’d have liked the race to be a week earlier because he’s been in such good form. He’s been delighting me at home and if he runs a good race at Sandown he’ll probably head for races like the Lockinge and the Queen Anne. His breeding suggests he’s a miler, but I think he may get 1m2f this year, which would open up more options. He’s got form on all kinds of ground.
4yo Arakan – Danetime Out
He’ll go straight to the Lockinge and have a similar campaign to Night Of Thunder. They’re two very similar horses, but it becomes easier as the season progresses and there’s a lot more European racing. He only won once last year, on his seasonal debut in the Craven, but he beat The Grey Gatsby that day and did little wrong the rest of the year on all kinds of ground, so we’re hopeful of another big season with him.
4yo Hurricane Run – Portal
Will be following a similar path to Pether’s Moon, with the Melbourne Cup as a possible end game. He progressed nicely last season and won first time out this year at Doncaster, but I thought he lost concentration slightly on his latest run and was caught flat-footed behind Arab Spring and Pether’s Moon at Newbury, so we may put a bit of headgear on him next time to sharpen him up.
3yo Montjeu – Madeira Mist
A brother to Joshua Tree who cost 600,000gns. He’s very idle, needs a trip and will take time, but he could be worth waiting for.
3yo Acclamation – Galistic
She’s got a bit of temperament and her tail goes round when she works, but I think she’s got plenty of ability. I thought she was our Queen Mary filly last year but she was too big and weak to run, so I hope she can start to make up for lost time.
3yo Fast Company – Tawaafur
He’s got penalties this year for winning the Norfolk at Royal Ascot, so hopefully he’s now in a better place mentally than he was at the end of last year, when although he was fine at home, he became a sweaty mess when he went to the races. He seems to have settled down over the winter and we’ve put a hood on him to help him get over whatever it was that was worrying him. He’ll probably want 7f in time but we’ll start him off over 6f in either the Carnarvon Stakes at Newbury or the Pavilion Stakes at Ascot. He’s won on good to soft and good to firm.
3yo Giant’s Causeway – Astrologie
Al Shaqab Racing
Ran a super race in the Wood Ditton this month and has a very bright future, probably over 1m2f in time and on any ground.
3yo Teofilo -Tasha’s Dream
We’ve always thought a lot of him, but he’s very big and he grew a lot at the end of last year, which caused him a few problems. Although I thought at one time he could be a Derby horse, I think that may come a bit soon for him and we’ll just wait for him to tell us he’s ready and then aim him at some of the nice 1m2f races. He’s a very, very good horse.
3yo Lope De Vega – Lady Livius
A Group 3 winner on the all-weather at Kempton last autumn, hopefully he’ll be good enough to go for the new 6f Group 1 at Royal Ascot and he’ll have his dress rehearsal in the Pavilion Stakes at the same track on April 29.
3yo Equiano – Mail The Desert
He won a decent handicap at Newbury last time and is a big, strong colt with loads of speed who could turn out to be a Britannia horse.
3yo Dark Angel – Danetime Out
He ran probably the best of all the Guineas trials when just behind Muhaarar in the Greenham, and although he was beaten that day it was very much a trial and I’d still expect him to go very close at Newmarket. He had a small crack behind after he’d been beaten in the Dewhurst, which would have stopped him running his race, and we’re still a little bit worried about the undulations at Newmarket. But, having said that, he’ll be a better horse over a mile and we’ll go there very hopeful of a big run.
3yo Zebedee – Keenes Royal
The market expected better from him when he was only third in the Greenham, but he’ll be a lot better for the run. The fact he was going 7f for the first time, and the fact he needed it, meant he may have looked as though he didn’t finish his race very well, but although he still has to prove he gets a mile, he proved last year he’s a very good horse and I’m sure he’s got a very big race in him. The plan is to run in the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket – although he’s in the French and Irish equivalents as well – and if he improves from Newbury, as I think he will, he should have a serious chance.
3yo Jeremy – Absolutely Cool
He handled the track really well when winning the Craven and amazed everybody by proving just as effective over a mile as he had been over 6f during his two-year-old career. People underestimated him going into the trials and, although he carried a 3lb penalty that day and still beat Nafaqa fair and square, he’s been underestimated coming out of the race as well. He goes back to Newmarket with a big chance.
3yo Paco Boy – Fuaigh Mor
He’s done plenty of late, including when just beaten by Fanciful Angel at Lingfield last time, and although he may get a mile in time and still end up in the Guineas, I’d say he
could be more of a Jersey horse. He’s fit after three
quick races and has the option of the King Charles II Stakes if we wanted to go to
3yo Invincible Spirit – Asaawir
She’s a good filly who hasn’t grown massively from two to three but showed some good form as a juvenile from 6f to a mile on ground with some give in it. She was down the field behind Osaila on good to firm in the Nell Gwyn on her reappearance and will miss the Guineas, but as soon as we get soft going she’ll do herself justice.
3yo Danehill Dancer – Mennetou
Frankie Dettori got off her after she’d won the Nell Gwyn and said she’d definitely be in the first three in the Guineas, and I think he’s dead right. She wasn’t right in her coat and she’s crying out for 1m2f, so she’ll look a lot better on Guineas day and will be running on as well as anything. Unlike many of the others, she has no question marks hanging over her about her ability, stamina or tenacity. She’s uncomplicated.
3yo Invincible Spirit – Propaganda
I was very disappointed with her reappearance fourth at Kempton this month as she’s much better than that. I’ll wait until she’s come in her coat and then see if we can get her to reproduce some of the good form she showed in the second half of last season up to a mile. I’m hoping the Kempton run was just down to her not liking the surface, as she ran poorly on it on her debut as well.
3yo Paco Boy – Solola
Won the Horris Hill at the end of last year on easy ground and we’ll wait for the same kind of surface for him this term, with a view to campaigning him in 7f and mile Group 3s.
3yo Dubawi – Mise
Won very well at Chelmsford on his reappearance, albeit not beating a lot, and I think he’s a proper sprinter. He’s got a lot of ability and we’ve given him time, so hopefully he’ll reward our patience. He’s in at Sandown in a 5f handicap [Friday April 24th).
We haven’t done a lot with the youngsters yet, but Great Page (f Roderic O’Connor – Areeda) won well at Windsor on Monday and will be aimed at the Albany, and here are a few of the others who have already got me dreaming. There’s a nice filly called Illuminate (Zoffany – Queen Of Stars) who will go to Salisbury on 1,000 Guineas day; Receding Waves (Dick Turpin – Welanga) was the last to be sold but they often turn out to be really good and he has been working brilliantly since, so if anybody wants a nice horse for Royal Ascot, the trainer’s third-share is for sale; Nisser (c Dream Ahead – Poppy Seed) cost £130,000 at Doncaster and is turning out to be really decent; Logout Island (Dark Angel – White Daffodil) has done one piece of work and already we like him a lot; Julie Wood has a Zebedee colt called Dyllan (ex Luvmedo) who could be useful; Bay Of St Malo (f Canford Cliffs – Distant Skies), Papa Luigi (c Zoffany – Namaadhej) and Blackout (c Dream Ahead – Belle Masquee) are others to have shown promise at this early stage.