Racing: Great expectations for Hannon sprint bid

Richard Hughes: rides Great Page. Picture: Getty
Richard Hughes: rides Great Page. Picture: Getty
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Great Page can add further gloss to the Hannons’ superb record in the Weatherbys Super Sprint at Newbury.

With Richard Hannon snr having won the race seven times before his retirement, his son then stepped up to the plate 12 months ago when Tiggy Wiggy blasted home under Richard Hughes.

Hannon jnr fields five runners in this ridiculously tough race, but it has to be of significance that Hughes has sided with Great Page.

Connections of the Roderic O’Connor filly were understandably downcast at the Curragh last month when she failed to make a mark in Group Three company. There were, however, extenuating circumstances as Sean Levey’s partner lost ground at the start and also encountered trouble in running.

Once she was switched wide for a clean run, Great Page stayed on pretty encouragingly, eventually beaten three and a half lengths by the useful Most Beautiful. Before that, the Middleham Park Racing-owned filly looked very good when winning a Listed race at Naas by three lengths, which nicely hammered home the fact a fast-run six furlongs is very much her forte.

Her previous outing at Salisbury, when second to stablemate Illuminate as the 1-3 favourite, looks impregnable, too, as that one has since won the Albany at Ascot and the Duchess of Cambridge at Newmarket last week. With pace never an issue in the Super Sprint, and conditions looking just about ideal, Hannon’s decision to miss the July meeting at Newmarket can yield a most profitable harvest.

Consort could feasibly be the star turn on a breathless afternoon of sport when he runs in the Listed JLT Stakes earlier on the card. Sir Michael Stoute’s grey looks a most promising animal, with this mile-and-a-quarter trip likely to see him in a highly favourable light.

The Lope De Vega colt lengthened like a good thing when winning at Sandown in May, and improved upon that effort at Royal Ascot when a three-length third behind Gleneagles in the St James’s Palace Stakes.

Consort is well treated by the conditions of this race, with a big display in Berkshire likely to see him rise in class for something like the Juddmonte at York.

Arabian Comet perhaps holds the key to the Newsells Park Stud Stakes at Newmarket. The 104-rated filly, trained by William Haggas, turned in some terrific efforts last season and should be a great deal fitter than on her comeback at Goodwood in May, when a close third to the subsequent well-above-average Miss Marjurie.

Baby Mix has pleasingly come back to hand after a long absence and could go well at fair odds in the Betfred Summer Plate at Market Rasen, with Kie of interest on his first start for David Pipe in the Betfred TV Summer Hurdle.