A Royal Ascot winner is what everyone dreams about and yesterday afternoon that dream became a reality for our 5lb claimer Thore Hammer-Hansen. Everyone here at Richard Hannon Racing is absolutely delighted for him - it is a fantastic achievement so early on in his career.
Thore struck up a good partnership with the Alan King trained Coeur De Lion when winning the Chester Plate in May last year and gave him a perfectly timed ride in the Ascot Stakes handicap to run down Ryan Moore aboard the Nicky Henderson trained Verdana Blue to win by a length.
"It's unbelievable to come here as a claimer and ride a winner. It's sad there's no crowds but I still got an unbelievable buzz. There are so many top jockeys who haven't yet had a winner here so it's amazing. I won on him last year at Chester and he took me to some big meetings, including here when he was fifth. We were confident he'd run a big race but possibly only dreamed that he'd win. My Dad has ridden a Group 1 winner, but he never rode a Royal Ascot winner so that's something I can wind him up about."
Thore is booked to ride Embour for us at Royal Ascot on Saturday and his invaluable 5lb claim should help give him every chance of running a big race.