Million wins for Hannon and Johnston


Curragh report:Once again Richard Hannon walked off with a valuable sales race as Lucky General pounced late in the Goffs Million Sprint at the Curragh and, just for good measure, his stablemate Full Mandate followed him home.

Hannon has a tremendous record in these particular events and having claimed one big pot already in Ireland this year with Dick Turpin, he took home the lion’s share of the £1.6million prize money.

Sent off at 11-2, Richard Hughes produced the son of Hawk Wing just as it looked like Mick Kinane had given Full Mandate the perfect front-running ride.

The pair were separated by a length and three-quarters with King Ledley running on into third.

Walk On Bye travelled well for a long way before fading while favourite Beethoven finished fourth.

Hannon said: “He’s always been a lovely horse. Hughesie couldn’t go the early pace, but it’s a great advantage to be drawn this side.

“Credit must go to the Doyles (bloodstock agents) who bought him and that’ll be it for him for the year.

“It’s great for the owner Julie Woods. Julie is one of our biggest and most enthusiastic owners in the yard.”

Shakespearean ran out a gutsy winner of the Goffs Million Mile. Joe Fanning set out to make all on the Mark Johnston-trained juvenile, an easy winner of the Solario Stakes at Sandown on his last start.

That race has worked out particularly well and the punters steamed into him in the ring, forcing his price in from 11-2 to 3-1 second-favourite.

Fanning wound up the pace some way out and while the challengers queued up behind him, none could get past the brave son of Shamardal.

The favourite, John Gosden’s Azmeel, was done no favours by the draw and never figured.

Bolger’s Marfach (25-1) was narrowly denied by a short-head with Hannon’s Nurture (33-1) third.

Johnston said: “I was sure he would have been more fancied as he’s the one that’s gone on and done it in Group company and I thought he was the one to beat.

“I was just praying the line would come. Joe said he had to get at him all the way.

“I’ve just won the Group race in Germany (Jukebox Jury) by a whisker so it’s probably the best five minutes I’ve ever had.”

Trainer Paul Deegan landed the biggest victory of his short career to date when Lady Springbank picked up in fine style to win the CL Weld Park Stakes.

Sent off at 25-1 having finished only sixth in a Listed race at Sandown on her previous outing, the Willie Supple-ridden filly powered away to Group Three glory.

Mark Johnston’s raider Bikini Babe made it a real test and appeared to have fought off all-comers, but Lady Springbank showed a fine turn of foot to score by half a length. Corcovada was third.

Deegan said: “She did it well, she did it very well actually. She saw it out very well.

“She’s in the Cheveley Park (at Newmarket on Friday) so she’ll probably take her chance in that. She came over from Karl Burke’s for the good ground, so we were worried about how the ground dried out.”

Irish Stallion Farms Joe McGrath EBF Handicap

Tornadodancer had made a bold bid for glory and went for home some way out.

He appeared to have done all the hard work in fending off Jim Bolger’s Sioduil but unfortunately for his backers Hayes got a great tune out of Ado McGuinness’ seven-year-old, and the 12-1 shot fairly flew home to claim victory by a neck.

A winner over seven furlongs last time out at Listowel, Toufan Express was having his first start at seven furlongs, and McGuinness said: “He’d been

placed nine times from 11 starts before Listowel.

“I didn’t realise he was a sprinter until now. He has had injuries in the past, but the boys stayed with him and it has paid off today.

“I don’t know where we’ll go next, but he has his job done for the year now after that.”