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‘Bigger picture’ behind Snow Lantern’s Guineas absence

Richard Hannon chose to miss Sunday’s Qipco 1000 Guineas with Snow Lantern because he is “looking at the bigger picture” – this season and next.

Snow Lantern is by Frankel and out of the Hannon yard’s own Guineas winner Sky Lantern, and Sunday’s Newmarket Classic therefore appeared the obvious target when she was so impressive at Newbury recently.

However, it was announced days later that she will not try to emulate her parents and will instead be possibly stepped up in trip. She is also due to stay in training at four.

“It was a team decision,” said Hannon.

“She’s by a Guineas out of a Guineas winner, so the 1000 Guineas looked her race, but you’ve got to look at the bigger picture.

“She has been lightly-raced up to now. She’s a very heavy filly, and they are looking to keep her as a four-year-old.

“They don’t want to throw her into the deep end right now. There’s the Prix de Diane, Coronation, Irish Guineas, Falmouth – there are all sorts of lovely races, so she can run in some of those if she’s good enough.

“I think she’s good enough. I hold her in the highest regard – I think she could be even better than her mum.”

Snow Lantern is not the easiest to handle but has always shown great talent.

Hannon added: “She’s a bit difficult – she can be a bit keen and can be a bit of a madam. But you don’t mind that when they have the talent and ability she has.

“I’ve never known a horse look so much like her mum, so much so I got Hughesie (Richard Hughes) to sit on her when he was down one morning. He didn’t feel this filly had the same sort of speed, but I think she had an off-day.

“I think she’s a miler personally. She won very well at Newbury, and I think she’s very good.

“Although it’s a shame to miss the Guineas, it will give us the opportunity to look at big targets in the summer.”

Snow Lantern to miss 1000 Guineas and wait for York

Leading Qipco 1000 Guineas contender Snow Lantern is to miss the Newmarket Classic and instead run at York’s Dante meeting.

The daughter of two Guineas winners in being by Frankel out of Sky Lantern, like her dam she is trained by Richard Hannon.

She was third-favourite for the fillies’ Classic having beaten John and Thady Gosden’s Derab – who Enable’s half-brother – by a length and three-quarters.

Hannon said on his website: “Following a discussion with connections, Snow Lantern will not be taking up her engagement in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket and will instead be aimed for either the Group Three Musidora Stakes or the Listed Michael Seeley Stakes at York’s May meeting.

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“With the Michael Seeley being run over a mile and the Musidora over a mile and a quarter, both of these races will give us options and gives her an extra couple of weeks.

“Either race will give us a good guide on where we stand for the rest of the season with her too. She holds entries in the Epsom Oaks and Prix de Diane, and these engagements will be dependant on her York performance.

“There are plenty of options coming up for her. She is a special filly, with a beautiful pedigree and has already proved an exciting prospect for her owner-breeders, Rockcliffe Stud”

On the same card, Hannon landed the Greenham Stakes with Chindit, who has now won four of his five outings with his sole defeat coming on soft ground in the Dewhurst.

“Chindit came out of the race brilliantly, he was in the pen most of the next day and has cantered this morning and he’s fine,” said Hannon on Tuesday.

“His form is solid and it looks like he’s going to be suited by the test of the Guineas. To me it looked as if he was crying out for a mile.”

Chindit (far side) got going late to win the Greenham
Chindit (far side) got going late to win the Greenham (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

On the other side of the coin, however, was Happy Romance, who failed to see out seven furlongs in the Fred Darling and will now revert to sprinting.

“She just didn’t stay, so we’ll go sprinting,” said Hannon.

“I must admit I thought she was sure to stay, but she clearly didn’t.

“I don’t mind admitting when I’m wrong, it happens often enough. There are still plenty of races she can go for and she’s already won a Super Sprint, a Group Three and a sales race at York already and the owners have had a ball.

“There are many good days left in her yet.”

Guineas outing still to be confirmed for Snow Lantern

No decision has yet been made as to whether impressive Newbury winner Snow Lantern will line up in the Qipco 1000 Guineas.

The daughter of two Guineas winners in being by Frankel out of Sky Lantern, like her dam she is trained by Richard Hannon.

She is currently third-favourite for the fillies’ Classic having beaten John and Thady Gosden’s Derab – who Enable’s half-brother – by a length and three-quarters.

“We still don’t know if she’s going to run in the Guineas,” said Hannon.

“She’s a good filly, but we haven’t made up our minds yet. I’ll have to talk to the owners about everything and see what they say.”

On the same card, Hannon landed the Greenham Stakes with Chindit, who has now won four of his five outings with his sole defeat coming on soft ground in the Dewhurst.

“Chindit came out of the race brilliantly, he was in the pen most of the next day and has cantered this morning and he’s fine,” said Hannon on Tuesday.

“His form is solid and it looks like he’s going to be suited by the test of the Guineas. To me it looked as if he was crying out for a mile.”

Chindit (far side) got going late to win the Greenham
Chindit (far side) got going late to win the Greenham (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

On the other side of the coin, however, was Happy Romance, who failed to see out seven furlongs in the Fred Darling and will now revert to sprinting.

“She just didn’t stay, so we’ll go sprinting,” said Hannon.

“I must admit I thought she was sure to stay, but she clearly didn’t.

“I don’t mind admitting when I’m wrong, it happens often enough. There are still plenty of races she can go for and she’s already won a Super Sprint, a Group Three and a sales race at York already and the owners have had a ball.

“There are many good days left in her yet.”

Beautifully-bred Snow Lantern sparkles at Newbury

Snow Lantern ran out a cosy winner of what is sure to be an informative Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships Maiden Stakes at Newbury.

Richard Hannon’s grey filly is certainly bred for the job, being out of two Guineas winners in Frankel and Sky Lantern, the latter also trained by Hannon.

It looked a strong event on paper with Enable’s half-brother Derab and the Roger Varian-trained Fantastic Fox having also shown decent form, while there was market support for Simon and Ed Crisford’s newcomer Saleymm.

It was three of those with previous experience who fought out the finish, though, with Sean Levey on Snow Lantern (3-1) taking the race by the scruff of the neck over a furlong out.

While John and Thady Gosden’s 11-8 favourite Derab did hit top gear late on, looking sure to be suited by going over further than a mile, Snow Lantern was not hard pressed to beat him by a length and three-quarters with Fantastic Fox a short-head further back in third.

Coral cut the winner into 16-1 from 20s for the Qipco 1000 Guineas.

Hannon: “I haven’t enjoyed watching a race like that as much for a long time and I feel relief in a way because she is highly strung and I was worried about that, but she’s come here and behaved perfectly well.

“Obviously as a daughter of Frankel and Sky Lantern she’s got the lot and I’m very tempted by the Guineas, but we need to discuss it during the week.

“She did have some problems last year and of course Newmarket is an undulating track, but then her mother won two Group Ones there and if the owners want to go there must be a good chance that she will.

“Against that I will enter her for the Michael Seeley, a Listed race at York, as we are obviously keen to get some black type.

“Sean said her stride pattern was far from the normal kind and that augurs well for her.”