Hannon ready to start with a bang

Strong Suit storming to victory at Ascot
Strong Suit storming to victory at Ascot
Markov and jockey Tom Bellamyon their way to victory. Picture: Fontwell Park

Honeyball hat-trick lights up Fontwell

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Richard Hannon is in bullish mood ahead of the defence of his top trainer title.

The Wiltshire handler took Glorious Goodwood by storm last season, saddling nine winners during the five-day festival.

His soaring success was launched by Zebedee’s triumph in the Molecomb Stakes on day one.

And Hannon is confident he has the firepower to provide a winning start this time around, too.

Today’s curtain-raising card features seven races, including three Group contests in which the Sussex-born trainer boasts two of the favourites.

Strong Suit is at the head of the market for the Group 2 Lennox Stakes (3.10pm) over seven furlongs.

Richard Hughes has chosen to ride the three-year-old son of Rahy, rather than his stable-mate – and reigning Richmond Stakes champion – Libranno.

But Hannon has warned punters to write off the 112-rated colt at their peril.

‘Hughesie naturally sticks with Strong Suit,’ said the Everleigh handler.

‘Though having run a blinder in France, where he was only caught close home in a three-way photo for the Prix Jean Prat at Chantilly, he will definitely be suited by coming back to seven furlongs.

‘He seems back to his old self after a breathing operation and we are very hopeful.

‘However, don’t rule out Libranno, who ran a terrific race to finish fourth in the July Cup.

‘He won the Richmond here last year, has won over seven, is very versatile and the track is made for him.’

West Sussex jockey Ryan Moore has been booked to ride Libranno before Hughes partners Crown Dependency in the Group 3 Molecomb Stakes (3.45pm).

Hannon billed the two-year-old as ‘one for the future’ after he won on debut at Goodwood.

However, he is expecting a big run today and is happy to put a line through the son of Acclamation’s last outing.

‘He broke his maiden here and course form is always a bonus,’ said Hannon.

‘He was a bit unlucky to finish only third in the Norfolk at Royal Ascot but has bags of speed and won’t be far away.’

The first of the three Pattern races on today’s card is the Group 3 Gordon Stakes (2.35pm), where Hannon saddles Measuring Time and Moriarty.

Despite little market interest in the latter, who is a 25/1 shot with some bookmakers, the trainer is hopeful of a good display.

‘We tried the visor on Moriarty at Royal Ascot and he ran badly, so we are leaving it off,’ said Hannon.

‘Some horses like it and some don’t and, in any event, on his form in the Feilden and the Gallinule, Moriarty deserves a lot of respect.’

The first race is off at 2pm, with the final contest going to post at 5.25pm. Gates open at 11am.