Racing: Relief for Hannon

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The Independent Online
'THE trainer is not embarrassed,' Richard Hannon said at Sandown yesterday after watching his juvenile Wijara, a 40-1 chance, win the opening maiden with his better-fancied stable companion, Wet Patch, back in the pack. If not embarrassed, though, the champion trainer must have been very relieved, especially after his Bagshot took a later race on the same card.

In recent weeks, gloom had descended on the yard which last season welcomed back 182 winners and pounds 1.25m in prize money. Hannon's strike-rate plunged while his string resisted the best that veterinary science could throw at them. The trainer's despondency was such that going to the races was beginning to feel like a chore, as one runner after another did not run badly, but failed to find a winning kick when it mattered.

'We have blood tested them and everything else,' he said, 'but we still can't find out what is wrong.'