They’ve done it again – the Hannons have claimed Goodwood’s Dick Hern Trophy for the sixth time in seven years.
Richard Hannon junior has ended the 2014 Goodwood campaign as the track’s top trainer – following in the footsteps of his father Richard senior, who had won it five years out of the past six before handing over his trainer’s licence to his son at the end of last year.
By the middle of the racecourse’s final meeting of the season on Sunday afternoon, Hannon’s total of nine winners couldn’t be overhauled as Mark Johnston failed to add to his tally of eight victories. And Hannon made sure of finishing well clear of all his rivals by winning two of the last three races.
Hannon was not present to pick up the coveted trophy but Tony Gorman from the Wiltshire yard received it on his behalf from Goodwood clerk of the course Seamus Buckley.
There was no real contest to be settled in the bid to be top jockey at the racecourse for the season – Richard Hughes arrived for proceedings already four victories ahead of William Buick, 12-8 the score.
And as if to prove the point that he is unassailable as the top rider on the Downs, Hughes kicked off the meeting with a win in the race for professional National Hunt jockeys, the Alderbrook Stakes.
The triumph – perfectly allowable as Hughes is registered as a NH jockey – came on the Hughie Morrison-trained 9/2 favourite Aiyana, but only after he held off a strong challenge by Wayne Hutchison – winner of this race in 2013 – who was a close second on Flying Light (13/2) for trainer Graeme McPherson.
Hughes completed a double later in the afternoon as the weather closed in by guiding Shadow Rock, trained by Hannon, to the Irish EBF Maiden Stakes, the 5/1 starter edging out Secateur and William Buick in a thrilling finish.
And Hughes then turned it into a treble – to end the camopaign with 15 Goodwood wins – by giving Hannon another success on board Yaakooum in the Furniture Makers’ Stakes handicap, a 6/1 shot.
Hughes had only just been edged out of a quickfire double at the start of the afternoon in the Steve Smith Memorial Maiden Auction Stakes, finishing second on Amanda Perrett’s Lightning Charlie, the 8/11 favourite, two-and-a-quarter lengths behind shock winner Liam Jones on the Martyn Meade-trained Fligaz, who went off at 14/1.
Popeswood (9/1) took the Irish Stallion Farms EBFNursery Stakes handicap under Charles Bishop for trainer Mick Channon, while Adam Kirby was first home in the Sistema Stakes on Clive Cox’s 16/1 contender Desert Ace, owned by the Arabian Knights syndicate.
West Sussex trainer Luke Dace was in the honours in the Amateur Jockeys’ Association Gentleman Amateur Handicap Stakes as My Lord came wit ha well-timed run to defeat Yul Finegold.
The course’s final race of 2014, the Rifles Care For Casualties Appeal Stakes Handicap, was landed by War Singer (11/1), ridden by Steve Donohoe for Johnny Farrelly, whose victory over second-placed Extra terrestrial was out of this world.
See a report and pictures from the season finale in the Observer on Thursday.