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Richard Hannon - The UK's Leading Flat Trainer

Richard Hannon trained Mr Brooks to win the July Cup at NewmarketRichard Hannon trained Mr Brooks to win the July Cup at Newmarket

Richard Hannon is widely regarded as one of the most experienced and innovative of Britain’s flat trainers, his career spanning over thirty-five years. After following in his father’s footsteps, he gained his training licence in 1970. Considered by those who know best as probably the finest trainer the sport has ever seen, he has since produced many winners at his Wiltshire-based family run operation.

Richard Hannon

Richard Hannon and family 

Richard’s son, Richard Jr, was the assistant trainer and took over from his father when he retired in 2013.  Yet another Richard, in the form of his son-in-law is the yard’s regular jockey.

Probably the most famous winners to emerge from his yard are Don’t Forget Me, Paco Boy, Tirol, Sky Lantern, Canford Cliffs and Lemon Soufflé. 

Hannon's superb training skills and his consistent success, became apparent in 1992 after he won the much-coveted title of “Leading Trainer”. In the same year, he also trained and took Mr Brooks to glory in the July Cup at Newmarket and in the Prix de l'Abbaye at Longchamp. 

Further success in France included the Prix Royal Oak in 1992 and the  Prix du Cadran in 1993 with Assessor. However, these big wins started to dry up throughout the rest of the 90's, but undeterred, Hannon continued to train winning horses, whilst teaching his assistant son everything he knew.

Hannon is renowned for his particular love and understanding of two-year-old horses and hit a winning streak again in the late 2000's with the youngster Canford Cliffs. With Hannon’s training, Canford Cliffs shocked and amazed Royal Ascot when the bay stallion won the Coventry Stakes by six lengths and then the Irish 2000 Guineas.

Thanks to his young star, Hannon regained the “Leading Trainer” award, which he so wholeheartedly deserved.

Significant owners: 

Queen Elizabeth II 

Owned and bred the successful stayer Free Agent. The horse won the 2008 Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot and the success was fondly remembered by Hannon who said of his owner “She was just an incredible woman. She knew her horses and she knew her pedigrees inside out.”

In fact she became the first reigning monarch to be named British flat racing Champion Owner on two occasions, 1954 and 1957.

She successfully bred a large number of winning racehorses and was patron of the Thoroughbred Breeders' Association.

Queen Elizabeth II arrives at Royal AscotQueen Elizabeth II arrives at Royal Ascot

Julie Wood 

Julie Wood, a prominent owner in British horse racing, has enjoyed a successful partnership with Richard Hannon's training operation for nearly two decades. Over this period, Julie has entrusted more than 150 horses to Hannon's care, resulting in close to 150 victories.

Notable among her successful horses are Gilded, Strong Suit, Chandlery, Olympic Glory, and Zebedee, all of whom achieved Group race victories at prestigious events such as Royal Ascot and Glorious Goodwood. Julie's journey into horse ownership began with If Paradise, whose success ignited her passion for the sport and led to further investment in racehorses.

Despite starting with modest success, Julie's ownership venture flourished with If Paradise's victories, prompting her to increase her involvement in horse ownership.

Throughout her ownership career, Julie has won 11 Group races and 16 black-type races, with horses like Strong Suit earning second careers as stallions.

While Julie values the thrill of winning, she also appreciates the joy of simply participating in top-tier races. Notably, Julie has been willing to sell her top horses when the timing was right, ensuring their continued success and well-being in new homes.

Julie's partnership with the Hannon stable has remained strong over the years, even as the number of horses in training has decreased.

Despite this, Julie remains actively involved in horse racing, with promising prospects like Glory, the offspring of Olympic Glory, poised for success on the racetrack.

With a keen eye for talent and a passion for the sport, Julie's ongoing involvement in horse racing promises excitement and potential victories in the seasons to come.

Further Training Success

In 2013, he had further success as his grey filly; Sky Lantern won the 1,000 Guineas race in Newmarket. At Newmarket’s 2000 Guineas race, Hannon scored a hatrick with Mon Fils in 1973, Don’t Forget Me in 1987 and Tirol in 1990.

Punters looking for good tips and betting odds can always resort to backing one of his horses, if they are unsure where to turn. With his track record, he still proves to be a relatively safe bet.

Having won the British Flat Racing Champion Trainer award three times, scored more than a 100 victories per season 20 times, and won at Ascot 32 times, Richard Hannon is considered the greatest trainer in the history of the sport. His career and legacy will be hard to top, but he acts as a great inspiration for those who attempt to follow in his imposing footsteps.

Aside from training, he was also once the drummer of the 60’s rock band The Troggs before they hit fame. Unlike the 5th Beatle though, he managed to reach an almost similar level of success and notoriety, within his narrower field. He is married to Josephine and has 5 children.

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