Who is Richard Hannon Snr.?

When he announced his retirement from the training ranks in November, 2013, Richard Hannon Snr. had just enjoyed his most successful season ever, numerically and financially, with 235 winners and over £4.5 million in prize money. In fact, his impressive seasonal tally not only made him Champion Trainer for the third time in four years, and the fourth time in all, but took his career total to 4,145 winners, thereby setting a record for the number of British winners for any trainer, Flat or Jumps.

Born on May 30, 1945, Hannon became a a trainer in his own right in 1970, when he took over the licence from his father, Harry, at a small, rented yard in East Everleigh on the edge of Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire. In an effort to expand his string, Hannon advertised for yearlings that had gone unsold at public auction. One of the horses he acquired in this way was Mon Fils, bred and owned by Brenda Davis, who won the 2,000 Guineas in 1973 at odds of 50/1. Hannon reportedly managed to secure 200/1 about the Sheshoon colt and used the proceeds of his winning bet – £35,000, or over £425,000 by modern standards – to fund the purchase of the East Everleigh yard.

Aside from Mon Fils, Hannon would win the 2,000 Guineas twice more, with Don’t Forget Me in 1987 and Tirol in 1990, and the 1,000 Guineas once, with Sky Lantern in 2013. He also saddled 32 winners at Royal Ascot, notably including Shalford and Bold Edge in the Cork and Orrery Stakes, now the Diamond Jubilee Stakes, in 1992 and 1999, respectively.

Which are the most valuable races in Britain?

The most valuable horse races in Britain naturally include some of the most prestigious, and most coveted, contests on the horse racing calendar. Traditionally the fourth Classic of the season, the Derby Stakes, or Derby, for short, run over a mile-and-a-half at Epsom, is currently the most valuable horse race run in Britain, with a total prize money of £1.62 million. Elsewhere on the Flat, the Ebor Handicap, run over a mile-and-three-quarters at York, has received a massive boost in prize money since Sky Bet took over sponsorship of the race in 2018 and now has a total prize fund of £1 million; it is, in fact, the most valuable race of its kind, not only in Britain, but in the whole of Europe.

In 2020, two Group One races at Royal Ascot, namely the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, run over a mile-and-a-quarter, and the Diamond Jubilee Stakes, run over six furlongs, were due for an increase in prize money, to £1 million from £750,000 and £600,000, respectively. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, prize money at the Royal Meeting was amended, such that all eight Group One races were run for £250,000.

Generally speaking, National Hunt racing is less lucrative than Flat racing, in terms of the prize money on offer. Nevertheless, while not quite on a par with the Derby, the Grand National, run over four miles and two-and-a-half furlongs at Aintree, offers total prize money of £1 million, making it the most valuable steeplechase run in Europe.

When was the Commonwealth Cup inaugurated?

The Commonwealth Cup was inaugurated in 2015, when it became the eighth Group One race to be contested at Royal Ascot. Run over a distance of 6 furlongs, the Commonwealth Cup is restricted to three-year-olds, including geldings, making it the only race of its kind to be run anywhere in Europe. Indeed, at the time of its inauguration, the conditions of the other Group One sprint run at Royal Ascot, the Diamond Jubilee Stakes – established, as the All-Aged Stakes, in 1868 – were changed to exclude three-year-olds.

The Commonwealth Cup was included in the Royal Ascot programme at the expense of the Buckingham Palace Stakes, a valuable 7-furlong handicap restricted to three-year-olds, which was first run in 2002; at that point, the Saturday meeting, formerly known as ‘Ascot Heath’, was officially incorporated into the Royal Meeting, by way of celebrating the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. Thus, the Buckingham Palace Stakes was not run between 2015 and 2019, much to the displeasure of some experts, but was reinstated, possibly as a one-off, as one of six additional races added to the Royal Ascot programme in 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.