Flat RacingHorse Racing

Richard Hannon: “We’re backing Wedding Date up quickly after winning at York last week”

May 23, 2019

THE horses are in terrific form so we go into this weekend confident of banging in a few more winners. The team enjoyed a winner in Cologne on Sunday with Fox Champion who won the German 2000 Guineas in good style under Oisin Murphy and this horse just keeps improving and improving.

We thought we’d win the Coventry with him last year but he got a set back after his debut at Doncaster (on Derby day) so we had to wait but that may have been a blessing in disguise as he’s come back a much stronger horse and has a very bright future.

We’ll probably look at the St James’s Palace Stakes now as he’s proven he’s up to this level and it will be interesting to see how far up the ladder he can go. Temple Of Heaven beat a couple of well fancied Godolphin and Coolmore representatives in the Olympic Glory Stakes at Newbury last Saturday and is now two from two.

He showed a great attitude in what was quite a messy race and that experience should put him in good stead for the Coventry, which is where he’ll go next along with Threat who was very impressive on debut at Newmarket.

Embour won the Sprint Handicap on the Friday of Newbury’s Al Shaqab Lockinge meeting and we’ll more than likely look at the Wokingham for him. We’ll have a few runners at Epsom and Oh Purple Reign will probably take his chance in the Woodcote.



2:50 Silver Bowl

Masaru (Jim Crowley)

He put up a very big performance to win under top weight at Sandown last time and is clearly improving. The handicapper has raised him another 7lbs, and this is a decent race, but he’s very well and we’ve kept him nice and fresh at home so I’d be very hopeful he can run a huge race under Jim Crowley who is three from eight when riding for us this season (38%).

Brian Epstein (Hayley Turner)

It was frustrating to see him get beaten at Doncaster last week when he just got outbattled in a close finish but got put up in the weights for doing so. I’m still convinced there’s a decent race in him and I don’t think he’ll be far away. We have done absolutely nothing with him at home this week, he’s just enjoyed a few steady canters and spent plenty of time in our grass pens.

Big Baby Bull (Thore Hansen)

I don’t think he stayed 10f at Sandown on his penultimate start and probably found the ground against him last time so he has ideal conditions today and Thore’s 5lbs claim will be a major asset in a race like this. He has to improve a bit, but has been in good form and he’d have definite each way claims.



2:30 Handicap

Beat Le Bon (Pat Dobbs)

I didn’t think he was disgraced behind Moyassar at Newmarket last time (over 6f) but we’re having another go at seven furlongs here. I’m not sure what his ideal trip is but he has a lot of ability and could go well over this sort of track as it will keep him guessing.

Alhakmah (John Egan)

We’ve always liked her and she got the job done nicely at Lingfield last time. She made her debut at the Qatar Goodwood Festival last year and went down by a neck so we know she handles the track and a sharp 7f could be right up her street. I’d be quite keen on her chances.

3:10 Maiden Fillies’

Al Hajees (Sean Levey)

She’s a nice filly with plenty of ability but can often be a little lazy at home so I think the whole experience here will sharpen her up and while the Godolphin horse could be very smart, I don’t expect this filly to be too far away.

3:40 Listed Tapster Stakes

Danehill Kodiac (Sean Levey)

He missed a lot of last season but has come back this year showing he retains plenty of ability and both runs so far have been very good. We’ve kept him ticking along nicely over at Everleigh since Chelmsford and he’s in great form. This is a small field and looks a very good opportunity for him to get his head back in front.


2:20 Fillies’ Handicap

Wedding Date (Rossa Ryan)

We’re backing her up quickly after winning at York last week but she has come out of that race really well so we thought we might as well have another bite of the cherry. She’s won at Chester before and six furlongs won’t be a problem so I’d be quite hopeful that she can go very close. 

4:05 Maiden

Endowed (Rossa Ryan)

I was very pleased with his debut at Ascot and he will have learnt plenty from that. The step up to six will help and I thnik he has a massive chance in this. He’s much sharper now.


5:50 Maiden

Partridge (Sean Levey)

She is a very speedy filly who has done everything asked of her at home and I’m quite hopeful that she should be up to winning this.

6:50 Maiden

Real Smooth (Sean Levey)

He shows a lot of speed so we’re going down to 6f and I’ve been happy with him at home. It doesn’t look the best race in the world so I’d say he’s got a solid chance in this.

7:50 Handicap

Purbeck Hills (Sean Levey)

He’s got to step up on his last couple of runs but I’m hoping the step up to 1m4f will help as it will give him plenty of time to settle into a rhythm and he won’t mind the ground.

8:20 Classified Stakes

Ifreet (Sean Levey)

He’s shown promise on all three runs to date on the All Weather and worked very well on turf the other day. We’re going up to 1m2f and this appears a very ‘winnable’ race so I’d be disappointed if he’s not up to breaking his maiden tag here.