Hannon aiming to strike gold again

Trainer on hunt for the next Canford Cliffs as sales season opens at Doncaster

Don't pity the punter, trying to find a winner from a field of maybe 16 horses. The real trick is to beat far greater odds, much earlier. Yesterday at Doncaster, the great and the good of the racing and bloodstock businesses gathered for the start of the yearling auction sales season, a treadmill of talentspotting that will run through until early December. This week's task? To sort the champs from the chumps in a catalogue of 495 young potential athletes.

A year ago, trainer Richard Hannon and his buying team struck paydirt, in the form of Lot 146, a bay son of Tagula now known as Canford Cliffs, runaway winner of the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot and beaten only half-a-length in the Group 1 Prix Morny at Deauville on Sunday. As an 18-month-old, the colt had made a significant impact on Hannon's chief scout Peter Doyle.

"All I had written on his catalogue page was 'good sort, nice walker', which was high praise," said the Irish agent. "It meant there was no criticism of him physically, that I thought he was correct in his conformation. And I can remember that he had a real swing to his walk, that he looked like a racehorse." Others round the auction ring thought so too; the £50,000 made under the hammer by the young horse was the highest price of the year for one by his sire, a reliable progenitor but one not in the first flight of fashion.

Hannon and Doyle, and their respective sons Richard junior and Ross, were back at the scene of their gold strike yesterday, looking at a conveyor belt of bays and browns, chestnuts and greys. The initial elimination is carried out by the Doyles.

"We'll look at maybe 200 horses this week," said Hannon junior, "and some of those we like we'll be able to afford, and some we won't. If we go home with maybe 15 we'll have done well. Everyone's looking for the same thing – a racehorse – but luckily everyone's view of what makes one is slightly different. I can remember the first time I saw Canford Cliffs I thought him a lovely type of horse, and being struck by his bearing and demeanour. He seemed completely unflappable.

"But if we're the ones who find another like him this week we'll be lucky. There are nearly 500 horses in this catalogue and probably two of them will be exceptional."

The Doncaster auction, the first on the domestic yearling circuit, has a reputation for producing a high proportion of juvenile winners from its graduates, at all levels of the market. But only time will tell whether an Ad Valorem filly who made the minimum bid of £5,000 yesterday or a £120,000 Royal Applause colt is the better.

"You try to buy what you think are the nicest horses," added Hannon junior, "but you never really know. These here this week are just babies, and by the time they start cantering in January they may have developed into completely different individuals, some for better, some for worse."

Of those he secured yesterday for next year's sport, Hannon was particularly pleased with a well-related grey Mujadil colt with a £48,000 price tag. "He looks the part," he said, "but you can never tell what owners are looking for. Canford Cliffs was actually one of the last of the ones we bought on spec to find an owner; we showed him at two of our open days and he was the one no-one picked."

Last year's haul of yearlings from various auctions have already won 66 races and nearly £850,000 this year but to make sure none of this term's recruits are left on the shelf, the East Eversleigh marketing drive will include the innovation of virtual yearling parades. "We'll put them on our website," said Hannon, "then people who can't get down to the yard can look at them from the comfort of their offices and see if there's anything they fancy."

Hannon is confident that Canford Cliffs can bounce back from his surprise defeat on Sunday, which has been attributed to going firmer than ideal. "He was a bit sore afterwards," said Hannon. "He was probably feeling the ground, and a close third in a Group 1 under those circumstances was disappointing only in the context of his Royal Ascot win. He'll be bouncing again by the Middle Park Stakes, when the ground should be more to his liking."

Turf account: Sue Montgomery

Nap

She's In The Money (3.50 Catterick) Seems to have benefited from a switch of stables and, though bred to go further, won over today's trip at Newmarket, showing a good turn of foot, and can follow up.

Next best

Herecomethegirls (4.30 Warwick) Well supported on her debut after good homework but could not cope with heavy underfoot conditions. Worth another chance on better ground.

One to watch

Papgeno (John Jenkins) is no world-beater but the son of Piccolo produced an encouraging effort at Southwell on Monday on his first encounter with all-weather surface and looks capable of winning off his current handicap mark.

Where the money's going

Fame And Glory is now 10-11 favourite on Betfair for the Irish Champion Stakes as wet weather in Co Dublin continues to put his clash with Sea The Stars, who has drifted to 13-8 on the exchange, on Saturday week in doubt.

Chris McGrath's Nap

Marine Spirit (2.30 Warwick)

News
Food blogger and Guardian writer Jack Monroe with her young son
people
News
people
News
peopleSinger tells The Independent what life is like in rehab in an exclusive video interview
Arts and Entertainment
booksPhotographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years - but he says it wasn’t all fun and games...
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Sport
Aguero - who single-handedly has kept City's Champions League dreams alive - celebrates his dramatic late winner
footballManchester City 3 Bayern Munich 2: Argentine's late hat-rick sees home side snatch vital victory
News
Muhammad Ali pictured in better health in 2006
peopleBut he has enjoyed publicity from his alleged near-death experience
Arts and Entertainment
Tony breaks into Ian Garrett's yacht and makes a shocking discovery
TVReview: Revelations continue to make this drama a tough watch
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
TV
News
The assumption that women are not as competent in leadership positions as men are leads to increased stress in the workplace
science... and it's down to gender stereotypes
Life and Style
The racy marketing to entice consumers to buy Fairlife, which launches in the US next month
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Inner sanctum: Tove Jansson and friends in her studio in 1992
booksWhat was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Lawyer - Cheshire

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: CHESHIRE MARKET TOWN - An exciting and rare o...

Austen Lloyd: Residential Property Solicitor - Hampshire

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: NORTH HAMPSHIRE - SENIOR POSITION - An exciti...

Recruitment Genius: Gas Installation Engineer

£29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Gas Installation Engineer is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Technical Surveyor

£28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Domestic Gas Technical Surveyor is req...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital