Tuesday 10 May 2011

Richard Hannon: ''We Are Not Quite There Yet.''

Richard Hannon might be more than £170,000 clear of his rivals in the race to retain his trainers title, but the boss stressed that "we are not quite there yet".

Hosting a media morning for Newbury on Monday to promote Saturday's Group 1 Lockinge Stakes, in which we could be represented by both Canford Cliffs and Dick Turpin, Hannon said:"The horses are running well, but it has not been easy with the weather having been so dry.

"There is no substitute for being able to work horses on grass at home, and, despite the week-end thunderstorms which were very welcome, it is still pretty firm underneath, so we have to stick to the all-weather gallops.

"We have had nine two-year-old winners so far this season, but we bought a different type at the sales last year, focussing less on the precocious youngsters and going for individuals with more of a pedigree who would stay that bit further.

"It is tough for any horse to switch straight from the all-weather gallops to the grass tracks, and many of the two-year-olds have been needing their first run, but we have got two big horses and, while we won't be even thinking about the trainers championship until after Glorious Goodwood, it is a case of so far, so good."

Asked for his opinion about the mighty Frankel, who blew away the opposition in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket recently, Hannon added:"He is obviously a very talented horse, but he has got to learn to race properly, because he won't be able to do what he did at Newmarket when he comes up against the older horses.

"It was an incredible performance, and three furlongs out he was 25 lengths clear of our own Dubawi Gold, but at the line we were only six lengths adrift, so I would not be afraid to take him on again.

"That could well happen in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood, but, more immediate, the plan is to take Dubawi Gold to The Curragh on Saturday week for the Irish 2000 Guineas. With no Frankel, it looks a very open classic, and Dubawi Gold, who was very keen when he first came to us, has really started to settle down, and he has one hell of a turn of foot.

"Andrew Tinkler, who owns Dubawi Gold, is a real sportsman, and he has no qualms about stumping up the £32,000 to supplement the horse for Ireland. It is a gamble, but one which we feel is worth taking as I cannot see our fellow not finishing in the first three."