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Hannon handing over reins to son

REIGNING champion Flat trainer Richard Hannon is to retire at the end of the year. The Wiltshire-based handler, 68, will hand over the licence to his son Richard Hannon junior on January 1.

Hannon said: "The worst-kept secret is racing is finally out – I am standing down from New Year's Day.

"It was always going to happen, but Richard jnr has served his apprenticeship and you cannot keep him waiting forever. Ian Balding passed the baton to Andrew and Barry Hills did likewise to Charlie, and it is only right that Richard should now take over.

"We thought long and hard as to when to make the announcement, but I wanted to make sure all my owners knew first, especially the Queen (of England), and now that all the yearlings are in for next season, it is the appropriate moment to let everyone know.

"Inevitably, people will say that I have retired, but I will still be up and out at first lot and assisting Richard instead of him assisting me.

"It is not my style to lay in bed all morning – I love being with the horses, but these past couple of seasons I have started to wind down and go racing less.



"I will still go to Newbury and Salisbury and also Royal Ascot and Goodwood, but I am now 68 and maybe it is time that I dropped down a gear."

Hannon, crowned champion trainer three times in the last four years, secured countless big-race victories, including three triumphs in the 2000 Guineas with Mon Fils, Don't Forget Me and Tirol. Hannon also claimed the 1,000 Guineas last season with Sky Lantern. He began training in 1970 following the retirement of his father Harry.

Despite having been responsible for sharp thoroughbreds like Lyric Fantasy and Lemon Souffle, Hannon has long considered five-time Group One-winning miler Canford Cliffs to have been the best horse he ever trained, and further top-level success at a mile has come this season with Toronado and Olympic Glory.

Hannon, who was known for his peerless handling of juveniles, attracted leading owners like Elizabeth Windsor and bows out at the top after securing a record-breaking number of domestic winners (238) to earn over £4.5million in prize-money.