Hannon queries entries system after 'farcical' Phoenix


Caravaggio: was 1-8 favourite when winning the Phoenix Stakes

  PICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos  

 By Peter Scargill 10:00AM 13 AUG 2016 

TRAINER Richard Hannon has labelled last weekend’s Group 1 Phoenix Stakes “a farcical race” and questioned the entry system for some of Ireland’s leading juvenile races.

Caravaggio cantered to a four-length win at the Curragh at odds of 1-8 with stablemate Courage Under Fire second and three overmatched rivals filling the other three places.

There were no British representatives in the Phoenix Stakes and Hannon, who trains one of the biggest strings of two-year-olds in Britain, blamed the early entry for races such as the Phoenix Stakes for their lack of strength in depth on race day.

He said: “The other day was a farcical race. It had no strength in depth and it’s a Group 1 worth a hundred grand. Entries are too early and too expensive and that’s why those races come up short in strength in depth.

“That race closed in April, I think, and you don’t know what you have. It’s like the Coventry and the Railway Stakes. They’re similar races only two weeks apart, but while the Coventry is five-day entries the Railway closes in early April for some reason. I don’t see why it should.”

Caravaggio ‘the best’

Hannon went on to praise Caravaggio as the best about at the moment, but added his Coventry win over Mehmas was a better performance than the Phoenix Stakes.

“Caravaggio is by far the best two-year-old we’ve seen this season but the Phoenix was not a good race,” Hannon told Channel 4 Racing. “The second is a maiden and Caravaggio didn’t win that impressively. He was far more impressive in the Coventry where he raced on one side and won that race, then came over to our side and beat us too.”

He added: “It would be nice to see something be able to take him on [in the Phoenix] that doesn’t have to be supplemented. But because you have to commit to them so early, and it costs something like a thousand quid, when you haven’t even won a maiden some people think you’re wasting that money.” 

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