Hannon in ‘limelight’ on Goodwood finale

Paul Nicholls on a recent visit to Fontwell Park / Picture by Malcolm Wells

Nicholls seeks success on Fontwell’s hunter-chase card

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Richard Hannon is hoping to sign off at Goodwood in style tomorrow.

The West Sussex track has been a happy hunting ground for the three-time champion Flat trainer over the past 43 seasons.

And as he chases a fourth title before handing over the reins to his son, Richard jnr, this winter, the 68-year-old is eyeing a memorable swansong on the Downs.

Black Caesar is set to spearhead his seven-strong charge for winners tomorrow – as the track hosts its final fixture of the campaign.

The two-year-old Bushranger colt will carry top weight in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Nursery Stakes (4.15pm).

But after he put a disappointing debut at Sandown behind him with Newbury glory last month, Hannon’s Wiltshire-based team remain positive about their hopes.

Black Caesar was handed an official handicap rating of 84 after that run.

Hannon & Co will be confident they can improve on that, though, ahead of an exciting three-year-old campaign.

Night Of Thunder launches the team’s day in the Greene King IPA Maiden at 2.30pm.

The unraced Dubawi colt is one of four Hannon charges looking to register a first win tomorrow.

Carthage, Nos Galan and Storm Rider are all entered in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden (3.05pm).

Black Caesar’s stable-mate, Pretty Flamingo, will join him in the stalls at 4.15pm.

Then Tobacco Road carries the Everleigh yard’s hopes in Goodwood’s final race of the season – the GWA Cars And Finance Stakes (5.45pm).

Hannon has already won 16 races at the track this term.

The feat has ensured he will once again lift the Dick Hern Trophy – regardless of how his horses fare tomorrow.

It will be the fifth time he has lifted the gong in the past six seasons.

And Goodwood’s managing director, Adam Waterworth, is delighted the track can provide such a fitting finale.

He said: ‘It’s always a time for a mixture of emotions.

‘We’ll be looking back with pride at having staged another excellent season of racing.

‘But there will be sadness, too, at having to close the gates to the public until spring next year.

‘One man in the limelight will be Richard Hannon.

‘He has already sewn up our Dick Hern Trophy – given to the trainer with the most wins across our season – which he won every year from 2008 to 2011.

‘He’s had 16 winners here this season, which is staggering considering his closest rivals have won six each.

‘If Richard does retire, this will be a great way for him to bow out.

‘Hand in hand with his success is that of (his stable jockey and son-in-law) Richard Hughes.

‘But he could still have a bit to do to finish as our top jockey for 2013, for he’s only two ahead of Ryan Moore.

‘Whoever the winners are, it should be a great day.

‘And then we get down to the business of planning our 2014 programme, although we have already done a lot of work on this.’

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