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Hannon happy with his three 1000 Guineas contenders

Richard Hannon, triumphant with unfancied Guineas contenders twice in his first five years with a training licence, is happy to avoid the pre-race limelight with his three candidates - King Of Change, Urban Icon and Walkinthesand – for the Group 1 QIPCO 2000 Guineas.

Hannon happy with his three 1000 Guineas contenders

Richard Hannon, triumphant with unfancied Guineas contenders twice in his first five years with a training licence, is happy to avoid the pre-race limelight with his three candidates - King Of Change, Urban Icon and Walkinthesand – for the Group 1 QIPCO 2000 Guineas.

The Hannon trio were today revealed among the 31 horses remaining engaged following yesterday’s scratching stage for this prestigious £500,000 event, run over the straight mile of Newmarket’s Rowley Mile Racecourse on Saturday, 4th May. It is both the first British Classic of the season and the opening leg of the 2019 QIPCO British Champions Series.

Trainer : Richard Hannon
Trainer : Richard Hannon Picture:Pat Healy Photography


Already responsible for the winner of this race on a record nine occasions, Irish Champion Trainer Aidan O’Brien has six entries including Ten Sovereigns Horseform, successful in the Group 1 Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes on the Rowley Mile last autumn, and Magna Grecia Horseform, who landed last year’s Group 1 Futurity Trophy at Doncaster.

Walkinthesand
Walkinthesand Picture:(Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Skardu, Momkin, Set Piece and Royal Marine – the first four home in the main trial, the Group 3 bet365 Craven Stakes, over this course and distance two weeks ago – head the British challenge alongside Mohaather, winner of the Group 3 Greenham Stakes at Newbury earlier this month, and three colts yet to race this season: Advertise, Calyx and Phoenix Of Spain.

As two-year-olds Advertise landed the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes and finished runner-up in the Group 1 Darley Dewhurst Stakes; Calyx ran away with the Group 2 Coventry Stakes; and Phoenix Of Spain found only Magna Grecia too strong for him in the Futurity.

No British trainer has more remaining entries than Hannon, who took this race with the 40-1 outsider, Night Of Thunder, in 2014 and saddled the 66-1 shot, Billesdon Brook, to land last season’s QIPCO 1000 Guineas.

Runner-up on both of his 2018 starts, King Of Change got off the mark with a two and a half length score in a conditions race at Nottingham on 10th April; Urban Icon was third in the Greenham; and Walkinthesand was involved in a terrific duel before losing out by a neck to Kick On (the pair pulling almost five lengths clear of the third) in the Listed Feilden Stakes over nine furlongs of the Rowley Mile on 16th April.

Richard Hannon, trainer of King Of Change, Urban Icon and Walkinthesand, said:

“Coming into the QIPCO 2000 Guineas rather under the radar doesn’t bother me at all. Historically, our three-year-olds always need their first runs, that was the case with both Night Of Thunder and Billesdon Brook and also with Sky Lantern [winner of the QIPCO 1000 Guineas six years ago just before Hannon took over the training licence from his father].

“It will be no different this time around, we will just have to see how much progress they all make. The 2000 Guineas is always a top class race, no matter what turns up.

“King Of Change really impressed us at Nottingham and has always been held in high regard, though running in the Guineas will be a big step up for him.

“Urban Icon came out of the Greenham absolutely fine and if he gets the fast ground that he needs I can see him running a really big race in the Guineas.

“Walkinthesand will improve for his excellent run in the Fielden and dropping him back to a mile won’t be a problem.

“All three will do their final pieces of work at the weekend and we will make a decision afterwards about how many to run.”

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