Richard Hannon: ‘I Love The Blue Points – He Could Have A Big Year’

Leading trainer Richard Hannon has nominated the juveniles who have been impressing him the most at home on the gallops and described himself as a massive fan of first-season sire Blue Point (Ire). 

So impressed is Hannon by Godolphin’s freshman sire, whose first runner-Action Point (Ire)–was a winner, he has predicted that he will struggle to get near the progeny of Blue Point at the sales in the coming years. 

Alongside the leading bloodstock agents Peter and Ross Doyle, Hannon has amassed a team of over 100 two-year-olds to go to war with this season, of which he has revealed to TDN Europe the ones who have been showing up best at home. 

He said, “I have five or six Blue Points that all go very well and a Dandy Man (Ire) colt who I really like that will be out soon. There’s also a lovely Soldier’s Call (GB) colt, owned by Sheikh Abdullah Almalek Alsabah, who cost £60,000 at Donny [the Premier Yearling Sale]. 

“I have a £200,000 Dark Angel (Ire) colt belonging to Al Shaqab who was also picked up at Donny, a New Bay (GB) filly belonging to Amo Racing who is pretty sweet and a lovely Kodiac (GB) colt called Odin Legacy (Ire) who cost  €575,000 at the Goffs Orby Sale. He’s a smashing horse.”

Hannon added, “I have a nice Havana Gold (GB) colt called Not Another. Havana Gold is an excellent stallion, as good as any of them, and he is a real trainers’ stallion. He’s going to be a big loss. Of the younger stallions coming through, I really like the Soldier’s Call colt that I have and I liked Soldier’s Call as a racehorse as well. 

“I love the Blue Points. They are all pretty similar-looking and you can see the Shamardal coming out in them but they all go nicely. I don’t think I will be able to afford many of these Blue Points next year-he could have a big year which will make them very expensive next year.”

Mehmas (Ire) and Night Of Thunder (Ire), who Hannon trained to record major honours with, have sky-rocketed in value since they retired to stud, with the handler revealing that even he now struggles to get near their offspring at the sales. 

But negotiating the sales has been made a great deal easier for the Hannon team through their long-standing relationship with Peter and Ross Doyle, according to the trainer, whose approach to the yearling sales is unrivalled given most of the stock is bought on spec. 

Richard Hannon and Ross Doyle | Tattersalls

Hannon said, “Peter and Ross Doyle are top-class. Ross and I are great mates and have worked together for 25 years now-like our fathers did before us. It’s been a great relationship and a very natural one. Ross fits exactly what we want and is a great asset to our business as I hope we are to his. We’ve been together a long time and not many of those trainer-agent relationships last as long.”

He added, “There’s a lot of competition out there now. We can’t afford to buy the pedigrees so we have to look for the individuals. The old 20 grand is now 60 grand. We need those horses in the cheaper bracket as that’s what owners want with two-year-olds. It’s also very exciting owning two-year-olds and they will always sell. We sold all of our yearlings last year. I thought it would be a lot harder to get it done but thankfully we did.”

Hannon is well-represented in terms of numbers in all of the early-entry sales races. The team have targeted and been successful in those races in recent years, with Gubbass (Ire) (Mehmas {Ire}) and Shouldvebeenaring (GB) (Havana Grey {GB}) being prime examples, and he described the plotting and dreaming that is involved in relatively cheap yearling purchases at this point of the season as one of the most exciting aspect to racehorse ownership. 

“This is the best time of year. Owners want to come and see their horses and everyone is full of hope ahead of another new season. The horses can change very quickly at this time of year and can transform into racehorses from little babies overnight. A bit of sun on their back and when they hit a bit of grass, you can see a massive change in their attitude, their appearance and their work.”

On other two-year-olds who are showing up well, he added, “I’ve got a nice Profitable (Ire) colt for Sheikh Abdullah Almalek Alsabah who cost £68,000 at the Premier Yearling Sale, a lovely Kodiac filly for Middleham Park Racing, a very nice Phoenix Of Spain (Ire) called Local Hero who only cost 37,000gns at the Tattersalls Somerville Sale. He belongs to Michael Pescod and is a fantastically-nice mover.

“We’ve a couple of nice two-year-olds by Advertise (GB). There’s a filly there out of Raggety Ann (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) by him and she’s a real nice type but might just need some time. 

“Mehmas is another fantastic stallion. We have five or six of them this year and we always try and buy a few. Night Of Thunder is another but they have become very hard to buy now as well.”

While Hannon has over 100 two-year-olds to work with, he revealed that he will be on the lookout for talent at the breeze-up sales, including at the Craven Sale next week, which is where Mehmas (Ire) was sourced for just 170,000gns by the Doyles back in 2016.

“If we see something that we think is good value, Ross will buy it, but I really don’t have much interest in the ones who do the fastest times at the breeze-ups,” Hannon explained. “I really don’t believe in that. The fastest horses are never the best horses–it’s all about how long they can do it for. 

“Doing it over two furlongs is a false economy. All you want to see is a nice-moving horse who looks like it’s not a squeezed lemon. It needs to have a bit of scope and a good attitude as well. But when it comes to the breeze-ups, we buy off the same sort of people every year. They are people we know and we know the horses that they produce have not been gunned at home.”

It’s not all about the two-year-olds for team Hannon this season as Trillium(GB) (No Nay Never), who beat The Platinum Queen (Ire) (Cotai Glory {GB}) in the G2 Flying Childers at Doncaster last season, headlines a strong team of three-year-olds for the year ahead. 

Hannon said, “I have a very nice unraced three-year-old filly called Maman Joon (Ire) (Sea The Stars {Ire}). She could be a lovely mile-and-a-half filly. There’s another lovely three-year-old filly called Mammas Girl (IGB) (Havana Grey {GB}) for Amo. 

“I’ve got Trillium as well and she’s in great nick. She wants to go a little too fast sometimes but we’ll probably start her off in the Sandy Lane or the Merriebelle. That’s a Commonwealth Cup trial at Ascot so we’ll take things from there with her.”

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