A lifetime of achievement by Richard Hannon is being distilled by his present crop of juveniles, who added yet another big prize to their haul here yesterday.
Dick Turpin, decisive winner of the Richmond Stakes, shows exactly what Hannon has always offered his patrons. The colt has a speedy pedigree, but he is by an unfashionable stallion in Arakan and changed hands as a yearling for just €23,000 (£19,600). Yet here he is now, winner of his first three starts by an aggregate of nearly 14 lengths.
His task here was admittedly simplified by the scratching of Showcasing, but he still looked good value as he followed up the success of his stablemate, Monsieur Chevalier, in the Molecomb Stakes here on Tuesday.
Richard Hughes, himself in the form of his life, allowed Bould Mover a narrow lead until asking Dick Turpin to lengthen around a furlong out. He took a few strides to hit top gear but then burst clear, three lengths in hand of Buzzword at the post despite easing up. "He takes a bit of time to get rolling once you switch him off," Hughes explained. "He's a very tall horse, with a huge stride. He needs a little break now, as he's a bit on the weak side."
The sponsors introduced him to the Stan James 2,000 Guineas market at 20-1, but he seems unlikely to get a mile. Both Dick Turpin and Monsieur Chevalier can instead be treated as signposts to the merit of Canford Cliffs, already 5-1 favourite, and off to the Prix Morny next. "He seems to be different gear," Hannon admitted. "He's very, very good, the best I've had for a very long time."
Buzzword's good run kept up the momentum for Godolphin, who have another very nice juvenile prospect in the nursery winner, Black Snowflake. It was a remarkable effort for this colt to pull the race out of the fire after losing his position in traffic, two furlongs out, but still more commendable was the way Frankie Dettori recognised that the whip could not improve his momentum. He found due reward, getting up on the line, and Black Snowflake would by no means be the first of the stable's horses to graduate from nurseries to much better company.
The day's most valuable prize, the Totesport Mile, was won by Laa Rayb, responding to blinkers for the first time and a fourth winner of the meeting for a specialist here, Mark Johnston.