Walter Swinburn’s hugely successful race-riding career, highlighted by the Derby victories of Shergar, Shahrastani and Lammtarra, was as memorable for his patient and sympathetic horsemanship as for his extensive success.
His premature retirement from the training ranks later this year will therefore be greeted with wistfulness by all who have admired his skills over the years.Consequently, any successes which Swinburn registers over the autumn will be popular ones.
Even so, despite the fact that his Listed victory in the Betfred Starlit Stakes at Goodwood came at the expense (by the slenderest of noses) of the Swinburn-trained Desert Poppy, no one could begrudge the popular sprinter Monsieur Chevalier his return to the winner’s enclosure.
Monsieur Chevalier was Britain’s dominant sprinting two-year-old for much of the 2009 season with six thrilling victories to his name. When he did not race at all as a three-year-old, it was easy to fear that his glory days were well behind him.
However, he has returned this term to run some good races, most notably when second in the Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot, and his narrow win at Goodwood (where he had strolled home in the Molecomb Stakes 26 months previously) was well deserved.
Being a son of Chevalier, Monsieur Chevalier is a good example of the skill of his trainer (along with the bloodstock agents Peter and Ross Doyle) in unearthing good horses by less obvious stallions.
Another under-the-radar sire with whom Hannon has enjoyed success is Arakan, whose four-year-old son Dick Turpin is one of the stable’s stalwarts.
Now Arakan lightning has struck twice for Hannon and Dick Turpin’s owner John Manley: his high-class two-year-old son Trumpet Major carried Manley’s red and black colours to victory in the Group 2 One Call Insurance Champagne Stakes, the opening race on Doncaster’s St Leger day card.