Hannon bullish as Beat Le Bon bids to add his name to list of champions
Haynes, Hanson & Clark Conditions Stakes | 1m | 2yo | RUK
The Haynes, Hanson & Clark is a proven playground for the leading lights of next year. Shergar (1980), Rainbow Quest (1983), Unfuwain (1987), King's Theatre (1993) and Nayef (2000) all feature on the race's roll of honour, with Shahrastani (1985) and Authorized (2006) contesting this mile conditions race en route to Derby glory.
Between them, today's field have won five races and three are unbeaten. However, it is a horse who has yet to win a race who many will instantly be attracted to.
Beat Le Bon, who will be partnered by Ryan Moore, displayed his share of promise when pulling clear of the field to finish second at the track over 7f two months ago.
Not everything has gone to plan in those two months but he holds entries in the Royal Lodge, Dewhurst and Futurity Stakes, and his trainer Richard Hannon is hopeful of a big run.
"Beat Le Bon is a very nice horse, we like him a lot and we've been looking forward to running him for a long time," said the trainer.
"He's missed a few intended targets due to pulling off shoes and things like that. He was in the Convivial Maiden at York which we thought he would win – we took him there but he had an overreach."
Connections clearly think a lot of Beat Le Bon, so it was surprising to see his Newbury conqueror Momkin beaten at 1-7 on his next start. The horse to beat him at Ffos Las that day was Palavecino and his trainer Brian Meehan is confident the son of Cacique can prove it was no fluke.
"He looked really good," said Meehan. "He beat a nice horse, has worked well and seems to be improving. If he were to win he would go straight to Doncaster [for the Vertem Futurity Trophy], but it depends on how he does."
Dashing Willoughby has his first start on turf after the Nathaniel colt scored at 25-1 on his debut at Wolverhampton last month, where he bravely fought off 5-6 favourite Al Mureib.
The win wasn't a shock to trainer Andrew Balding, who said: "It wasn't a total surprise as his work had been good beforehand.
"He's entitled to improve, and this will be his grass debut, but I don't see that as a problem."
Ed Walker won this race in 2015 with flagbearer Stormy Antarctic, and he will be hoping for more of the same with Duckett's Grove, who runs in the same colours.
"He is very different to Stormy Antarctic," he said. "Physically he is fine, tall and rangy whereas Stormy Antarctic was a ball of muscle. He will improve with time and whatever he does should be a percentage of what we see next year."
"I've not had him very long, he's a nice horse, his form in Ireland has worked out well and this looked a sensible starting point. We're hopeful of a nice run – it looks a very good renewal."
Karl Burke must still be flying high after a Group 1 double over Irish Champions Weekend with Laurens and Havana Grey, and he fields Mjjack in the Listed Dubai Duty Free Cup Stakes (3.55).
The 109-rated grey swept clear of the 105-rated Saltateen and 111-rated So Beloved in a conditions race at Haydock last time, and will face seven rivals including Ultimate Avenue, Mankib, Nebo and Red Mist.
Members can read the latest exclusive interviews, news analysis and comment available from 6pm daily on racingpost.com