Lockdown life Q&A with Richard Hannon

Fri 01 May 2020

Racehorse trainers are used to their work consuming their life with mornings busy out on the gallops and the afternoons/evenings filled with going racing - often a few hours drive away meaning they will get home late in the evening to start it all over again at 6am the following morning.

With the suspension of all racing in the UK, life has become quite different and I spoke to trainer Richard Hannon to find out what life has been like for him the past few months and what he thinks about the racing calendar moving forwards. 

You would normally be off racing most afternoons so what have you been doing during lockdown to keep yourself busy?

"The afternoons have been pretty quiet compared to what I am used to but I have been learning to
fly a remote controlled aeroplane with my son Jack and I have been watching my daughter Eliza
riding her pony. I have also been watching a few box sets on television."

You have two young children – how have you found home schooling them? Any chance of
becoming a teacher as a second career?!

"Home schooling them has been difficult to say the least – it’s very hard to get them to concentrate in
this environment and with about ninety horses running passed the kitchen window at hourly
intervals they have no chance of keeping their eye on the ball! It has been a bit of a disaster to be
honest and the sooner schools re-open the better!"

Have you been training your horses any differently since racing has been called off?

"No not really although It’s been a bit frustrating in terms of deadlines with some of our horses as they
were ready to go and we’ve had to take them back a stride once or twice as the lockdown has been

What has been the best thing about the lockdown?

"It has been the excellent camaraderie around the yard. Our staff have been impeccable and all of
them turned up and got on with the task. I think in a lot of ways we have seen the best parts of
humanity in the whole Covid-19 experience, despite how awful it has been for the entire world."

What has been the worst thing about the lockdown?

"The worst thing has been the monotony and the pubs being shut…! Although I was really excited
when our local Indian opened for take-aways."

What are you most looking forward to when life gets back to normal?

"Going racing, seeing owners, having a few winners and getting back to what we do best (and
according to my wife – smiling!)"

What do you think about the proposed changes to the racing calendar and what fixture/race are
you most disappointed to have lost to the Corona crisis?

"I’m very sad that we lost the Lockinge at Newbury – it’s a lovely meeting and signals the start of the
I’m pleased that the Guineas have been re-scheduled and the fact that they are now later in the
season could benefit us – Cloak Of Spirits was late to come in her coat last year so hopefully she will
be more ready for the re-scheduled race.
I don’t think the changes to the racing calendar matter too much – let’s just get back racing. You will
not find many people whingeing about what format it comes back in or what races come back. I
think we just need to be glad and grateful for what we have got."

Do you think your two-year olds will have benefited from having a bit more time to mature before
making their racecourse debuts?

"Absolutely they will, they will still hit the racetrack and be a little bit green but they will have had an
extra two months which will do them all a lot of good. It will surely be a very interesting two year old
season for everybody."

And finally, which older horse and which two year old would you pick to follow for the rest of the

"Of my older horses I would say a horse called Manigordo owned by Michael Pescod & Justin Dowley
and of the two year olds it would probably be a colt of Julie Wood’s called Etonian by Olympic Glory."

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