Posts

Super Sprint delight for Hannon with Gubbass

Richard Hannon is gaining ground on his father having notched up his fourth victory in the Weatherbys Super Sprint through Gubbass at Newbury.

Richard senior retired with seven victories in the race where a two-year-old’s weight is determined by how much they cost at the sales – which highlighted his knack of finding a bargain.

It turns out the apple has not fallen far from the tree, as 12 months on from the victory of Happy Romance 12 months ago – who returned on the same card to win the Hackwood Stakes this time – Hannon unleashed what could be a potentially smart juvenile.

Winner of his debut at Leicester, Hannon decided to skip Royal Ascot and it paid dividends, coming home half a length clear of stablemate Symphony Perfect to win at 4-1 for Sean Levey.

Delmona finished third, with Guilded fourth and 100-1 chance Adnaan fifth.

“We’ve always liked him a lot, we didn’t go to Ascot because he was growing – but he’s a very good horse,” said Hannon.

“He’s by a sire (Mehmas) who is getting very good horses, but my worry today was lack of experience and halfway through I thought he was going to finish eighth. But his class pulled him through. The filly ran well in second, too.

“He’ll probably go to the Richmond at Goodwood now, I’ve put him in the Gimcrack as well.

“He just wasn’t right before Ascot and was working moderately, there was no point going to Ascot if he wasn’t working very well and this race came at the right time in terms of Goodwood.

“He’s a very good two-year-old, no question, only time will tell if he’s more than that. He will probably get further, as the further he went the better he was going.”

Hannon, who won the Group One Falmouth Stakes recently, added: “It’s been a good few weeks, but days like today are vital for everyone.

“Races like this, for the smaller owner, it is their day and it’s very important they have their day. There’s room for everyone.”

Royal Ascot hero Chipotle out to add Super Sprint success

Eve Johnson Houghton is “very hopeful” her Royal Ascot hero Chipotle can follow up in the Weatherbys Super Sprint at Newbury.

An impressive winner of the Brocklesby at Doncaster in March, the Havana Gold colt has since proved that debut success was no fluke by scoring twice at Ascot – most recently pulling clear of his rivals in the Windsor Castle Stakes.

Bought for just 10,000 guineas as a yearling last autumn, Chipotle – who is drawn in stall 20 of 22 – is a hot favourite to claim the lion’s share of the £200,000 prize fund up for grabs in Saturday’s feature event.

Johnson Houghton said: “The draw is what it is. I think I’m happy enough with it – but if I’m not afterwards, I’ll let you know!

“We’re drawn near Vintage Clarets (22), who looks the obvious danger. I think we’re as good as it can be really.

“He’s in great form, and it will be perfect ground I should think, so we’re very hopeful.”

Vintage Clarets is bidding to provide his trainer Richard Fahey with a fourth Super Sprint success following the previous triumphs of Peniaphobia (2013), Lathom (2015) and Bengali Boys (2017).

Since finishing third behind Chipotle in the Brocklesby, the son of Ardad has won at Beverley and Ayr and finished a close-up third in the Coventry Stakes at the Royal meeting.

Vintage Clarets winning at Beverley
Vintage Clarets winning at Beverley (Mike Egerton/PA)

“Vintage Clarets is a very quick horse, who I think will be helped by coming back in trip, and Chipotle has a penalty for the Royal Ascot win,” said Fahey.

“We aren’t mob-handed this year for once, but you only need one runner if it’s the right one.

“It’s been a lucky race for me, and Vintage Clarets has a lot of natural speed.”

Another trainer who has already enjoyed Super Sprint success is Jonathan Portman, having struck gold with Mrs Danvers in 2016.

This time he will saddle bottom-weight Sienna Bonnie, who cost just 4,000 guineas and will be ridden by Hollie Doyle.

Portman said: “Sienna Bonnie ran well at Windsor last time out and has been in really good form since.

“The Super Sprint has been the target for a while, but we are hoping for as much sunshine as possible to dry out the ground – the last two or three times she’s run, the ground hasn’t quite been as quick as she would have liked.

“She’s up against it with those with higher ratings, such as Chipotle, and it won’t be an easy task, but we’re looking forward to it”

Tom Dascombe is no stranger to training speedy juveniles and has high hopes for Delmona, who was not beaten far when fifth in a Newmarket Listed event last month.

Tom Dascombe has high hopes for Delmona
Tom Dascombe has high hopes for Delmona (Mike Egerton/PA)

“Delmona has been in great form since Newmarket and is a very straightforward and easy filly at home,” said the Cheshire trainer.

“She is lightly raced, but a big field should suit her.

“She’s got a nice weight (8st 9lb) to run off. She’s not that well in on ratings, but we do think there’s more to come from her and are expecting a big race.”

Richard Hannon has so far added three Super Sprint victories to his father’s record haul of seven wins in the race.

He appears intent on adding to that tally, with chief hope Gubbass (Sean Levey) joined by five stablemates in Symphony Perfect (Hayley Turner), Raging (William Buick), Zoltan Star (Tom Marquand), Desert (Andrea Atzeni) and Banner Moonshine (Sam Hitchcott).

Chipotle on course for Super Sprint challenge

Impressive Windsor Castle winner Chipotle is among 23 remaining juveniles in the Weatherbys Super Sprint at Newbury on Saturday.

Eve Johnson Houghton’s two-year-old won the Brocklesby, the first juvenile turf race of the season at Doncaster, and took his record to three wins from four outings at Royal Ascot.

Johnson Houghton said: “Chipotle will definitely run unless it’s bottomless ground, but it looks as if we might be heading for a bit of a heatwave and that will be ideal for him. He travelled fine at Sandown, but the last furlong was heavy, and he was on the worst of it. He just couldn’t pick his feet up out of it.

“He was very impressive on fast ground at Royal Ascot, and the time was very good too. He’s been great since, but I can’t take any credit as he trains himself and just sleeps, eats and works.

“Unfortunately, Charlie (Bishop) is banned, but we’ve got a worthy replacement in David Probert.”

Unusually there will not be a maximum field this year for the £200,000 contest, but another who ran well at Ascot and who could turn up is Richard Fahey’s Vintage Clarets – third to Berkshire Shadow in the Coventry.

“I’m contemplating it,” said Fahey.

“He’s a very fast horse and I think if he’d run in the Norfolk rather than Perfect Power he would have won it.

“The thing with the Super Sprint is that it can be a messy race, you can get drawn on the wrong side.

Vintage Clarets is in Super Sprint contention for Richard Fahey
Vintage Clarets is in Super Sprint contention for Richard Fahey (Mike Egerton/PA)

“However, I own half of him and I’m looking at the prize-money!

“It’s something we target, it’s a racing man’s race, a race I look forward to every year.”

However, Fahey will not be running Khunan, who performed well in defeat behind stablemate Perfect Power in the Norfolk, with either the Molecomb or Richmond Stakes at Goodwood on his agenda.

Richard Hannon’s Gubbass, not seen since a promising winning debut at Leicester, could run for a stable with a formidable record in the race, as could Banner Moonshine, Desert, Raging, Symphony Perfect and Zoltan Star.

One of the attractions of the Super Sprint is that it is not always won by one of the bigger outfits. Rod Millman, who won with Lord Kintyre in 1997 and Bettys Hope two years ago, has a likely enough sort again in Amazonian Dream, while Jonny Portman, successful in 2016 with Mrs Danvers, has a live outsider in Sienna Bonnie.

Silvestre de Sousa and Bettys Hope (white cap) winning the Super Sprint for Rod Millman
Silvestre de Sousa and Bettys Hope (white cap) winning the Super Sprint for Rod Millman (Daniel Hambury/PA)

Millman, who has also had a second and two thirds in the race, said: “Amazonian Dream was only just beaten by Berkshire Shadow at Newbury first time out and we feel he’s improved at home since, but he hasn’t shown it on the track for whatever reason.

“He’s got a bit to find with Chipotle on Royal Ascot form, but he boiled over there, which surprised us as he’s usually very quiet. He’ll probably wear a lip chain in the preliminaries to see if that helps, and at the moment I’ve got Oisin Murphy to ride.

“It’s a race we always try to find one for, and we are always very well looked after.”

Portman said: “Sienna Bonnie hasn’t had quite the same run into the race as Mrs Danvers, who was unbeaten, but it’s a good race for her and it’s been her target all year. She is at the foot of the weights and drying ground will be ideal for her.

“She’s a ‘jump and run’ horse who likes fast ground, and the last three times it’s not been ideal for her. She’s still run very respectably in good company.”