- Sire-Dam -
Night Of Thunder (40/1) and Billesdon Brook (66/1) have been big-priced Guineas winners for Richard Hannon in recent years, and he almost pulled off the same trick with King Of Change in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas.
Winner of a maiden at Nottingham after being beaten on his first two starts, he started at 66/1. However, he beat all bar Magna Grecia in the 19-runner contest after racing with the winner on the stands’ side.
In late May, Hannon outlined future plans for the Farhh colt. He said: “The St James’s Palace Stakes and the Jersey were in the mix, but we are going to wait until August/September time with him.
“He had a hard race in the Guineas and we are happy to mind him as we are thinking of next year.
“I’d like to leave him alone until later in the season. I think a mile is his trip but he will get a mile and a quarter. He is a very good horse.”
Hannon was good to his word and King Of Change did not reappear until September, when he landed a Listed contest at Sandown in smooth style.
He followed that with an explosive performance in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes on QIPCO British Champions Day.
A 12/1 chance, he was impressive in beating well-fancied French challenger The Revenant by a length and a quarter.
Hannon said: “People thought I was a little bit petulant after the 2,000 Guineas for not celebrating being second, but we’ve always thought the world of this horse, and to be second in the Guineas is a great run, but you don’t remember those. Now he’ll be remembered, and it was all about next year anyway.
“We gave him the summer off because he had a hard race and we thought the ground would be firm at Royal Ascot. It was the first Ascot in about 10 years where it rained for three days, so that wasn’t great. But we decided to stick to our plan, did the Listed race [at Sandown on September 18] – because he had only won his novice – and then he comes here and runs like that.
“I’m not going to lie, I thought he’d win or go very close. I nearly backed him, but I decided not to because that stops trains! It even stopped Threat in the Coventry.
“I’m very impressed with this horse. I took myself off to watch because when they don’t win, you have that 30 seconds where just – it’s awful – and I know it’s only a horse race, but you live it at the end of the day, and I was ready for that disappointment. The odd day it doesn’t come!
“I think it will be a shorter winter on the back of something like that. We’d be thinking Queen Anne Stakes [at Royal Ascot], something like that.”
Jockey Sean Levey, added: “We were worried about whether he would handle the ground, but he was ticking enough boxes to suggest he would. His half-brother (Century Dream) ran third in this race last year and handled the ground, and he’s by Farhh, who handled the ground.
“The way he’s been working I thought all he had to do was to handle it, and the other day I said to Richard that although I’d ridden Toronado, Sky Lantern and the rest of them at home, none of them gave me a feel like him.
“I haven’t ridden at this level that much yet so I was cautious about saying too much and sounding too confident, but I was confident behind it all e’s obliged. We are at the end of the year next year and the plan was always to keep him in training next year, so we are looking forward to that and coming back to Ascot next year.”
He added: “That was a massive performance, and he’s gone through the race like a different class of animal. When he ran in the Guineas people thought it was a bit of a fluke, but when he came back in the autumn he was a massive stamp of a horse and he’s gone the right way.
“It’s huge for me, as this is the highest grade I’ve got to, so my thanks go to Richard and everyone back at the yard. Hopefully it’s a stepping stone to even bigger things.”
BCS Career statistics
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