Why Goodwood rivals hope Hannon retires soon

Richard Hughes rides to victory, beyond the brollies, on Night of Thunder - his 13th Goodwood win of the season and Richard Hanno's 17th  Picture by Malcolm Wells
Richard Hughes rides to victory, beyond the brollies, on Night of Thunder - his 13th Goodwood win of the season and Richard Hanno's 17th Picture by Malcolm Wells

HE’S been Goodwood’s top trainer in ten of the past 20 seasons – and five of the past six.

No wonder someone in the winner’s enclosure at Sunday’s season finale remarked that they should let Richard Hannon keep the coveted Dick Hern Trophy.

If the Wiltshire handler wasn’t thinking of retiring some time soon, his rivals would probably give up trying to wrestle the prize off him.

It was fitting that the trophy was presented to him this time by Richard Hughes, who rides so many of Hannon’s winners and has himself been untouchable among his peers on the Downs in recent years.

The presentation was always planned for after Sunday’s second race – and you can guess who won that.

Click here to see a short video of Hannon receiving the trophy

Hughes’ victory on the Hannon-trained 9/2 favourite Night Of Thunder in the Greene King IPA Maiden Auction Stakes was the handler’s 17th Goodwood win of 2013 and Hughes’ 13th.

Each man notched one more for good measure before the curtain came down on another memorable Goodwood season.

Yet Hannon was incredibly modest when quizzed about his love affair with Goodwood.

“We’ve had a good year, that’s for sure,” he said. “I’ve enojyed it, especially bringing some good two-year-olds here. You’re nothing without good horses.”

Racecourse MD Adam Waterworth said people were running out of superlatives for Hannon and Hughes’ Goodwood record.

“The two Richards have had another incredible year here, and we shouldn’t be surprised,” said Waterworth.

Now the wait is on to see if Hannon hands over his yard’s reins to his son, Richard junior, or will be back for more winners himself at Goodwood next spring.

Other trainers will hope so – like the four who each notched six track wins this season which, without Hannon, would have seen them share the trophy.