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Richard Hannon Snr

Richard Hannon crowned a magnificent career by sealing his fifth trainers' title a month before he announced his retirement at the end of November, 2013.

A life rich in achievement saw him train more than 4,000 winners but he saved his best for last with a stunning final season's haul of 238 winners and over £4.5 million in prize money.

It was all so different when he took over his father Harry Hannon's licence in 1970 in a small rented yard at Everleigh in the heart of Salisbury Plain. 

Of the nine horses in training five of them were modest hurdlers.

For a while he helped subsidise the business with his wages from playing drums with a local band.

Anxious to expand he advertised for yearlings that had failed to sell at various auctions and would then try to persuade their breeders to put them with him.

He relates "Sometimes it worked. That is how I got Mons Fils who went on to win the 2,000 Guineas in 1973 at 50-1. I managed to get 200-1 and won £35,000 which was a lot of money back then. "

It helped him buy the yard at Everleigh and launch him on an astonishing journey. "I remember the excitement when we got to twenty winners one year, then we were into the thirties and suddenly we into the seventies. More recently it has been around 200 winners a year.

"I could not have done it without all the good people around me", he concedes. Top of the list is his splendid wife Jo, mother of six children Claire, Julie, Fanny, Lizzie, Henry and Richard.

Few if any champions have risen so high from such modest beginnings than Richard Hannon.

He made it to the top with a compelling blend of instinct, good humour, unlimited enthusiasm, a countryman's eye for a bargain and a rare gift for making horses run astonishly well.

There were so many highlights along the way with Don't Forget Me and Tirol landing the Guineas double in England and Ireland, and more recently Canford Cliffs winning five Group 1 races.

Lester Piggott led the tributes on Richard's retirement. He said "Starting from nothing Richard did a wonderful job and had a great career.

"I rode a lot for him over the years and always thought he was especially great with two year olds. They were always so well behaved which made it easy to ride them".

When Richard's son took over the licence in 2014 he acknowledged "He is an enormous act to follow. Maybe an impossible act to follow. The best thing is that he is still working beside me".