Thursday 24 March 2011

Hannon slams prize money cuts

Richard Hannon has thrown his champion trainer's hat in the ring in support of Sheikh Mohammed when making a forthright stance over prize money levels and claiming that unless racecourses honour the Horsemen Group's proposed race tariffs which will be introduced in Britain on Saturday week he will recommend his owners swerve these tracks, beginning with his beloved Windsor meeting 48 hours later.

Hannon, who has been leading trainer at Windsor on numerous occasions and has a huge following with punters at the regular Monday evening sessions through the summer, especially with his two-year-olds, labelled the prize money cuts as "disgusting" and claimed that the likes of Arena Leisure and Northern Racing "are taking the Mickey".

He said:"I am not one to get involved in racing politics, but the time has come to make a stand and I fully agree with the Godolphin team that radical action is required.

"It costs on average between £16,000-£17,000 a year for an owner to have a horse in training, and with these cuts the powers-that-be are simply driving them out of the sport.

 "Windsor is one of my favourite tracks and I don't miss many Monday nights there, but unless my owners insist on me entering their horse I will be opting out of the first meeting there and, if things don't change, we could continue to be absentees.

"Ian Renton, the racing director of Arena Leisure, is hanging on to the coat-tails of the Racing Post Yearling Bonus scheme, and he is abusing the system. He seems to forget that it is the owners who pay for the bonus scheme in the first place, so, while he continues to cut prize money at his courses, the owners are left to try and win their own money back with the bonuses in the juvenile races.

"Windsor has been a lucky course for us and I have not taken this decision lightly, but we are getting the rough end of the stick and sometimes you have to say 'enough is enough'."