Sunday 24 September 2017

Richard Hannon

Richard Hannon is a British Champion flat race trainer and the son of four-time Champion trainer, Richard Hannon Sr.

After assisting his father for 12 years, Hannon Jr officially took over the licence of their Herridge Racing Stables, in Wiltshire on the 1st January 2014. 
The trainer only had to wait two days for his first solo victory, with Unscripted winning at Wolverhampton on 3rd of January. It was the first win of a blistering season for Hannon, who won the 2,000 Guineas with Night of Thunder, the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot with Tornado and was named Champion Trainer. 
He kept the momentum going into the next season where he scooped victories in the Coronation Cup and in the Lockinge with Night of Thunder; maintaining Group 1 success in every season since.
Born into one of Britain’s most prestigious racing families, Hannon Jr learnt his trade at top stables in Australia before returning to the UK to become his father’s assistant. Hannon Snr had also worked under her father, Harry Hannon, before taking over in 1970. 
Hannon Jr stayed in the role of assistant for 12 years, during which time the father and son team experienced incredible success and Hannon Sr won three trainers’ championships.
While working for his father, he was credited with bringing new owners to the stable including Sir Robert Ogden, Sir Alex Ferguson and Sheikh Fahad Al Thani.

The stable is currently training 240 horses including Tornado, Toormore, Olympic Glory and Night of Thunder.

Friday 15 September 2017

Red Rum

Grand National legend Red Rum requires little introduction. In fact, a poll conducted in 2006, 11 years after his death, suggested that he was still the most famous horse in Britain, ahead of Black Beauty, the eponymous, but entirely fictitious, hero of the novel by Anna Sewell.

For the uninitiated, Red Rum became a household name after winning the Grand National at Aintree an unprecedented three times, in 1973, 1974 and 1977. His most dramatic success, in terms of the way in which the race unfolded, was his first. Ridden by the late Brian Fletcher, Red Rum was sent off 9/1 joint favourite alongside the great Australian steeplechaser Crisp, ridden by Richard Pitman. Crisp, an instinctive front-runner, set off in front and, when his nearest pursuer, Grey Sombrero, fell at the Chair, led the field by 25 lengths. Crisp continued to jump superbly for most of the second circuit until, approaching the second last fence, his welter burden of 12st began to tell. Pitman recalled, “I felt the strength fall out of him.”

Crisp jumped the last fence 10 lengths in front, but on the long run-in Pitman made a crucial error of judgement that he later described, saying, “I went for the whip with my right hand, forcing Crisp to veer away from, rather than towards, the Elbow. It cost us two or three lengths, crucial momentum and, ultimately, the National.” In any event, Red Rum, carrying just 10st 5lb, overhauled Crisp in the dying strides to win by three-quarters of length. In so doing, he broke the Grand National record time, which had stood for 40 years, by nearly 20 seconds; the record wouldn’t be broken again until 1990.

Red Rum returned to Aintree in 1974, carrying 12st to a 7-length victory over L’Escargot, which made him the first horse since Reynoldstown, in 1936, to win back-to-back Nationals. He was beaten by the same horse in 1975 and by Rag Trade in 1976 so, by the time he lined up, as a 12-year-old, in 1977, many observers thought his best days were behind him. “Rummy”, as he was affectionately known, was having none of it, though; patiently ridden by new jockey Tommy Stack, he was left in the lead by the fall of Andy Pandy at Becher’s Brook on the second circuit and steadily drew clear in the closing stages to beat Churchtown Boy by 25 lengths!

Saturday 2 September 2017

Nicky Henderson

Nicholas John Henderson is a four-time British jump racing Champion trainer, who has enjoyed five decades of success in horse racing.

The renowned trainer is the son of Johnny Henderson, one of the founders of the Racecourse Holdings Trust. Eton-educated Nicky began his career as an amateur jockey before becoming assistant trainer to National Hunt racing racehorse jockey and trainer, Fred Winter in 1984.

Four years later he set up his own training stables at Seven Barrows in Lambourn, Berkshire. His career highlights include winning The Queen Mother Champion Chase in 1992 with Remittance Man and three-time Champion Hurdle winner, See You Then who won from 1985-1987. Henderson was named Champion trainer twice and has won the Cheltenham Gold Cup, first with Long Run in 2011 and then Bobs Worth in 2013. The trainer has become synonymous with Cheltenham with only one other active trainer, Willie Mullins, won more races at the legendary track. 
One of his best known horses was the hugely popular Caracciola. The mainly National Hunt horse was a 50/1 outsider when he pulled off a shock win the Cesarewitch Handicap flat race at Newmarket in 2008. He followed that success with a win in the Queen Alexandra Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2009. 
It hasn’t all been glory for Henderson though, in 2009 he was fined a record £40,000 and banned from running horses for three months after a prohibited anti-bleeding drug was found in the blood of Moonlit Path, a mare he trains for the Queen.