Happy days again for Hannon in big sales race

Smart filly holds off Devious Company at York.

  • Thursday 20 August
  • News
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Happy Romance landed her owners another huge pot when holding off the late attention of favourite Devious Company in the Goffs UK Premier Yearling Stakes at York.

With the Weatherbys Super Sprint in the bag, connections of the Richard Hannon-trained winner were already in bonus territory, although she did have to prove her stamina stepping up to six furlongs for the first time.

The Dandy Man filly showed her blistering speed when quickening away from the field over a furlong out, with the dual Group Two-placed Devious Company – whose previous four outings had come at seven furlongs – caught flat-footed.

Devious Company eventually found his stride and began to gain ground, but Sean Levey had timed his decisive move just right on Happy Romance (4-1), who provided her first-time owners with another day in the sun in winning by a length and a quarter.

Hannon said: “I thought she answered a lot of questions there. She got the trip, I don’t think she loved the ground and struggled early on – I thought she was going to run horribly for a few strides, but in the end she got to the front with relative ease.

“She is a very good filly and I do think she’s more than just a flash-in-the-pan two-year-old. Physically she’s done very well and she will get seven furlongs.

“She’s progressively got better and better all year. It’s nice to win this race, which is worth a lot of money, not as much as it normally is but that’s the times we are in. We’re lucky that all these two-year-olds are here racing and the owners are having a ball.”

Considering future targets, Hannon added: “She’s in a sales race at Doncaster, but we’d love to get some black type if we could at some stage.

“We’ll be looking at the Cheveley Park and there are a couple of five-furlong Listed races. There’s also the Firth of Clyde (at Ayr) – a Group Three over six furlongs for fillies. That might be just the race for her to get a bit of black type.

“Next year I’ll bet we’ll see her in the Fred Darling at Newbury in April.”

Montatham provided Yorkshire-born trainer William Haggas with his first winner at this year’s Ebor Festival with a narrow verdict in the Clipper Logistics Handicap.

The four-year-old grey has been in excellent form this season, with wins at Newmarket and Sandown sandwiching a fine effort to finish second in the Royal Hunt Cup at Ascot.

The well-backed 7-2 chance was strongly pressed racing inside the closing stages of the one-mile contest, but responded generously to Jim Crowley urgings to hold Sir Busker at bay by a neck, with previously-unbeaten 3-1 favourite Top Rank a close-up third.

Haggas said: “He’s such a genuine horse, Jim thought he maybe just got to the front too soon.

“When Top Rank came to him he went again, but he didn’t see the one on the inside and nor did I.

“I suppose we’ll have to look at Listed and Group races now, but I did put him in the Cambridgeshire. I don’t know if he’ll go there as he’ll go up in the weights again.

“He’s so genuine I’m happy to go up into a Listed, but they are worth half as much as this was.”

Gold Wand has always been highly thought of by Roger Varian and she finally delivered on the promise stepped up in trip in the British EBF & Sir Henry Cecil Galtres Stakes.

Seventh in the Oaks, she was narrowly denied by Franconia in a Listed race over 10 furlongs last time out – but found a mile and a half more to her liking this time, beating Vivionn by a length and three-quarters.

Andrea Atzeni was on board the 6-1 winner, and said: “I’ve always liked her since she was a two-year-old. We threw her in at the deep end in the Oaks, but lack of experience and the track didn’t suit her.

“She ran well last time on fast ground which she didn’t like. We weren’t sure about the trip today, but she enjoyed it.

“It’s great for her owner (Mohamed Khalid Abdulrahim) as he’s only young and he’ll be watching in Bahrain. She’s big, she’ll only get better.”

Terry Kent saddled 7-1 shot Ataser to win the Sky Bet EBF Stallions Nursery.

The 7-1 shot provided the first-season trainer with his first winner when scoring at Ripon in July, since when he had finished second at Ascot.

He got back on the winning trail on the Knavesmire, after which Kent said: “He’s such a tough horse and I’m delighted with him.

“It’s my first season. We’ve got 12 horses in at the moment, but only half of them will be ready to run this year.

“I was assistant to Roger Varian for a few years before I started. I think it’s my first visit to York was when I was working for my old boss Michael Jarvis.”

The closing British Stallion Studs EBF Fillies’ Handicap went the way of Keith Dalgleish’s Amber Storm (11-2), who came with a late rattle.

“My agent Niall Hannity was very keen I rode her as he really fancied her,” said jockey Joe Fanning.

“Keith just told me not to hit the front too soon, but two out I felt I’d win.”

Happy days again for Hannon in big sales race
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