Take note if Hannon sends Wahaab to Coventry

Race 3 The British Stallion Studs E.B.F. Maiden Stakes. Goodwood 2013.05.31. Wahaab, right, cruises to victory under Paul Hanagan. Picture: Clive Bennett
Race 3 The British Stallion Studs E.B.F. Maiden Stakes. Goodwood 2013.05.31. Wahaab, right, cruises to victory under Paul Hanagan. Picture: Clive Bennett
Markov and jockey Tom Bellamyon their way to victory. Picture: Fontwell Park

Honeyball hat-trick lights up Fontwell

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It’s a path which has been paved with Glorious gold for Richard Hannon in recent years.

And now the Wiltshire trainer believes he has another talent to follow in the hoofprints of stable stars such as Canford Cliffs and Strong Suit.

Hannon gave Goodwood punters a glimpse of a colt called Wahaab on Friday evening – just 24 hours after celebrating his 68th birthday.

It was only a glimpse, mind you.

The two-year-old son of Tamayuz eased clear to claim a comfortable victory ahead of Jazz in the six-furlong British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Stakes.

While he showed plenty of inexperience on his racecourse bow, the first foal of dual Group 1 winning dam Indian Ink passed the post more than two lengths ahead of the field – and with plenty more in hand.

His success handed course-favourite Hannon, who was born on the edge of the South Downs in Lewes, his fifth win in the past six runnings of the race.

But more importantly, it has fired hopes of a tilt at the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot.

The three-time champion trainer landed the prestigious Group 2 contest with Canford Cliffs in 2009 and Strong Suit in 2010.

And he reckons his new pretender is capable of glory at the five-day meeting in Berkshire.

‘Wahaab is pretty good and so was his mother (Indian Ink),’ said Hannon, who trained the mare to a career-high mark of 121 after winning the Coronation Stakes and Cheveley Park Stakes.

‘He was roaring his head off in the paddock, so that race would have done him good.

‘I’ll have to talk to Sheikh Hamdan (Al Maktoum, owner) and Angus Gold (owner’s racing manager).

‘But if he comes along at home he could go for the Coventry.’

Regardless of whether Wahaab, who has been installed as the 5/1 ante-post favourite by Stan James, snatches the silverware on June 18, Hannon has a habit of turning Coventry contenders into Glorious champions.

He saddled Olympic Glory to victory in the Group 2 Vintage Stakes on the Downs last term after the colt finished second best to Dawn Approach at Royal Ascot.

The Choisir talent went on to taste Group 1 success, while Dawn Approach disappointed in the Derby on Saturday after seven consecutive victories.

Olympic Glory’s stable-mate Master Of War was ninth behind the duo in Berkshire before coming second to Heavy Metal in the Group 2 Richmond Stakes at Goodwood.

Twelve months earlier, West Sussex jockey Ryan Moore steered Power to success in the Coventry for Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien.

Down the field that day were Hannon duo Chandlery, who went on to win the Vintage Stakes the following month, and Trumpet Major, who took the Group 3 RSA Thoroughbred Stakes last summer.

Olympic Glory and Chandlery both kicked off their careers with wins in the race Wahaab dominated on Friday evening.

But the pattern does not end there.

Strong Suit won the Coventry in 2010 and went on to take the Group 2 Lennox Stakes on the Downs the following season.

While Canford Cliffs is another Hannon charge who needs little introduction to the Goodwood faithful.

Yet even his Group 1 Sussex Stakes triumph over Rip Van Winkle in 2010 came less than 13 months after carrying off the £57k pot at Royal Ascot.

Major Cadeaux was among the first to tread the path for Hannon.

But after finishing second to Hellvelyn in the Coventry in 2006, he had to settle for third behind Henrythenavigator and Raven’s Pass in the Sussex at the age of four.

Henrythenavigator, who hailed from O’Brien’s Ballydoyle operation, had taken the Coventry in 2007.

And along with Canford Cliffs, he joined the likes Chief Singer (1983-84) in adding Goodwood’s blue-riband event to his Royal Ascot crown.

So it might just be worth making a note of Wahaab’s name.

After all, he may help put the Glorious into Goodwood’s five-day festival, which begins on July 30.