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Hannon to hand over license to Hannon Jnr on 1st January

25 Nov 2013

Richard Hannon, who has trained for over 40 years and been champion UK trainer four times with four British Classic winners to his name, will hand over to his son Richard Hannon junior, at the start of next year.

Hannon receives the trainer’s trophy from The Queen after Olympic Glory’s victory in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot. Image courtesy of racingfotos.com.

Richard Hannon, 68, one of the great trainers in Britain for over 40 years, will hand the reins over to his son, Richard Hannon junior, 38, on 1st January 2014.

An era will end, but it will be business as usual at the powerful Hannon stable with a simple role reversal – Hannon senior will now be the assistant as his son was in the past.

Hannon sent out three 2000 Guineas winners earlier in his career – Mon Fils (1973), Don’t Forget Me (1987) and Tirol (1990) – and capped that with a fourth British Classic winner when Sky Lantern took the QIPCO 1000 Guineas at Newmarket this season, helping him to his fourth trainers’ championship.

"The worst-kept secret in racing is finally out – I am standing down from New Year’s Day," said Hannon.

"It was always going to happen, but Richard jnr has served his apprenticeship and you cannot keep him waiting forever.

"Ian Balding passed the baton to Andrew and Barry Hills did likewise to Charlie, and it is only right that Richard should now take over.

"We thought long and hard as to when to make the announcement, but I wanted to make sure all my owners knew first, especially The Queen, and now that all the yearlings are in for next season it is the appropriate moment to let everyone know.

"Inevitably, people will say that I have retired, but I will still be up and about at first lot and assisting Richard instead of him assisting me.

"It is not my style to lay in bed all morning – I love being with the horses, but these past couple of seasons I have started to wind-down and go racing less.

"I will still go to Newbury and Salisbury and also Royal Ascot and Goodwood, but I am now 68 and maybe it is time that I dropped down a gear.

"The quality of horses here has definitely improved these last two or three years, and that is down to Richard jnr.

"It was him who brought in Sheikh Hamdan (Al Maktoum) and Sheikh Joaan (Al Thani) amongst others, and we can now go to the bloodstock sales with fatter cheque books than we have done in the past.

"I have been lucky enough to have trained some great horses. The first classic winner is always special and I will never forget Mon Fils (1973) landing that Guineas, while Tirol and Don’t Forget Me also have prominent places in the scrapbook, but there have been plenty of others in more recent years, like Canford Cliffs, Paco Boy, Toronado, Sky Lantern and Olympic Glory.

"However, we have one more roll of the dice this year, Sky Lantern in the Hong Kong Mile at Sha Tin on December 8.

"We have enjoyed another fabulous season, with seven Group 1 winners and £5.5m in prize money, but it would be nice to finish with one more biggie, and maybe Sky Lantern can make the dream become reality.

"She is very well and she will love the fast ground out there.

"Then who knows Richard might get off to a flying start by winning the 2000 Guineas with Toormore or one of the others. Now that would be the perfect lift-off, wouldn’t it ?"

Rod Street, Chief Executive of British Champions Series and Great British Racing, said: “Richard has been a wonderful advertisement for what’s best about our sport for over 40 years so it’s a shame that we will be seeing less of him.

"However, there could be no better time to hand over to his son after such a stellar season and I’m certain his continued influence will guide Richard Junior to even greater success.”