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Sunday, 09 December, 2018

Richard Hannon celebrates title success in first year with licence

Richard Hannon and Richard Hughes with their trophies at Doncaster in November 2014
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First published on Sunday, November 9, 2014

Even a champion has regrets and Richard Hannon was ruing one who got away after being presented with the trophy to mark his trainers' title in his first year with a licence.

He was delighted to take the crown in succession to his father, having won 198 races and £4.69 million in prize-money, but disappointed to draw a blank with four-time Group 1 winner Sky Lantern.

"Probably the regret of the season was we never got Sky Lantern back to what she was," he said after receiving the trophy at rainy Doncaster.

"She was probably my favourite filly. I had a big part in her build-up and we never got her back. But she gave us so many good days and she owed us nothing.

"It has been a great year. We had a good season last year but it was important for me to do it on my own.

"I inherited a lot of good horses from Dad and he's still a massive part of it. We inherited Olympic Glory and Toronado and they've both won Group 1s this year and that was very important."

Hannon is 4-9 favourite to retain the title with Paddy Power, and asked about possible stars of 2015 he said: "There's a High Chaparral horse called Moheet who won by seven lengths at Salisbury, Ivawood, Estidhkaar – we've got a lot to look forward to."

Richard Hughes paid tribute to the trainer after receiving his own trophy as champion jockey for a third consecutive season.

"I wouldn't ride winners if it wasn't for Richard Hannon," he said. "It was a seamless transition from senior to junior and I'm glad to be a part of it."

Reflecting on his own title, achieved by six winners from Ryan Moore, Hughes said: "It has been a long year, hard work, but it paid off.

"Ryan's a brilliant jockey and he's fortunate enough to get on those horses on the big days in the Group 1s all over the world and I envy him that - but I'm very pleased with what I've got."

The absent Oisin Murphy and Hamdan Al Maktoum were champion apprentice and champion owner, while Graham Lee completed a remarkable transformation when he was awarded the traditional 'Cock o' the North' cap as top northern rider.

The former leading jump jockey won the Elite Hurdle on this weekend nine years ago but finished third in the Flat table for 2014 and said: "It has been some rollercoaster and I'm enjoying the ride. I've been very lucky, I've had a great time and have been very fortunate to be top rider in the north."

He dismissed talk of a bid to land the title, saying: "I've been jumping long enough to know that my feet will always be on the ground, to just take each day as it comes."

But he had no difficulty identifying his highlight of the season, saying: "Without meaning to be disrespectful to any of the other horses I rode, what stands out for me is the feeling I had off Limato in the Redcar Two-Year-Old Trophy.

"I've never had a feeling like that before. He's a proper aeroplane."

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It has been a great year. We had a good season last year but it was important for me to do it on my own
E.W. Terms
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