Horse racing has occurred in Britain since Roman times. While the components of the sport have varied (obstacles, particular breeds, and distances have been added or altered), the main premise remains the same: that of judging the fastest horse and most skilled riders together in competition. In 1750, the formation of The Jockey Club by a group of gentleman who shared a passion for horse racing formalised the now internationally renowned Rules of Racing. The ‘sport of Kings’ is firmly a part of the English sporting and social calendar to this day. Owners, breeders, trainers, jockeys, and the horses themselves achieve, from time-to-time, legendary status, and indeed, all thoroughbred horses today can trace their foundation back to English sires of the 17th/18th centuries.
Those who do not normally take an interest in horse racing emerge to watch the thunderous displays at Britain’s most addicting events of the sporting calendar: Cheltenham, The Epsom Derby, The Grand National, and of course, Royal Ascot. However, for some small part of the country, horse racing is a daily part of life. The trainers who coach the horse and jockeys toil daily to provide the first-class displays we watch at meets around the world. At Herridge and Everleigh stables, in a quiet part of Wiltshire, Richard Hannon and his team are no exception.
The Hannons have been based there since 1968, and Richard Hannon is a third-generation trainer with a sterling, and prize-winning, pedigree. With over one hundred and fifty horses to be exercised every morning, dozens of entries to be made, owners to be contacted, jockeys to book, visitors to be entertained, horses to be saddled at the races and around seventy five staff, the training groups operate at a constant gallop.
With the most prestigious week of horse racing in the world nearly upon us, the stables are as lively as ever. Last year, ‘Barney Roy’ won the St James’s Palace Stakes over ‘Churchill’, gaining satisfaction on a long-standing rivalry and providing one of the largest wins for Hannon’s career.
This year Hannon’s first chance at victory comes on day one of the Royal Meeting when ‘Oh This is Us’ will be running in the Queen Anne Stakes. With a total of seven wins in 25 runs over the course of two years, this 5-year-old charger is a assured start to this trainer’s entries at this year’s Ascot.
At Oliver Brown, we will certainly be watching with bated breath to see if ‘Oh This is Us’ is a winner.