Richard senior retired with seven victories in the race where a two-year-old’s weight is determined by how much they cost at the sales – which highlighted his knack of finding a bargain.
It turns out the apple has not fallen far from the tree, as 12 months on from the victory of Happy Romance 12 months ago – who returned on the same card to win the Hackwood Stakes this time – Hannon unleashed what could be a potentially smart juvenile.
Winner of his debut at Leicester, Hannon decided to skip Royal Ascot and it paid dividends, coming home half a length clear of stablemate Symphony Perfect to win at 4-1 for Sean Levey.
Delmona finished third, with Guilded fourth and 100-1 chance Adnaan fifth.
“We’ve always liked him a lot, we didn’t go to Ascot because he was growing – but he’s a very good horse,” said Hannon.
“He’s by a sire (Mehmas) who is getting very good horses, but my worry today was lack of experience and halfway through I thought he was going to finish eighth. But his class pulled him through. The filly ran well in second, too.
“He’ll probably go to the Richmond at Goodwood now, I’ve put him in the Gimcrack as well.
“He just wasn’t right before Ascot and was working moderately, there was no point going to Ascot if he wasn’t working very well and this race came at the right time in terms of Goodwood.
“He’s a very good two-year-old, no question, only time will tell if he’s more than that. He will probably get further, as the further he went the better he was going.”
Hannon, who won the Group One Falmouth Stakes recently, added: “It’s been a good few weeks, but days like today are vital for everyone.
“Races like this, for the smaller owner, it is their day and it’s very important they have their day. There’s room for everyone.”
🏆 Happy Romance loves @NewburyRacing— Racing TV (@RacingTV) July 17, 2021
Winner of the Weatherbys Super Sprint in 2020, she stays on strongly to land the G3 @bet365 Hackwood Stakes for @rhannonracing & @LeveySean pic.twitter.com/692iyg2et4
Happy Romance bounced right back to her best in the bet365 Hackwood Stakes at Newbury.
Winner of the Super Sprint on this card 12 months ago, the filly was only narrowly beaten at Sandown last time out but she had generally been running below the form which made her such a favourite of Richard Hannon’s last season.
Along with the Super Sprint she won another sales race at York and a Group Three at Sandown, before finishing a creditable fourth behind Alcohol Free in the Cheveley Park.
Bar a win on the all-weather this season Happy Romance has struggled, but back on a quicker surface she proved she retained all her old ability and perhaps a bit more when seeing off last year’s winner Tabdeed and Diligent Harry.
Diligent Harry tried to make all, but Tabdeed breezed by with a furlong to run, only for Happy Romance to swamp them both. Diligent Harry snatched second back right on the line. As he has been all her career, Sean Levey was on board.
Winning owner Ray McMurray, who received a rapturous reception when picking up the trophy, said: “After Sandown we thought there was something there, but she just hasn’t had her ground all season.
“We thought she had every chance today, we were cautiously optimistic as the last time we had this sort of going was in the Super Sprint last year.
“This is better though, last year there were 10 people here!
“Richard always said she’s trained on, but he actually said the worry might be crowds as none of last year’s two-year-olds had ever seen one.
“She had to prove it today and now we might go to Goodwood and take on Battaash, I think she deserves to.”
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