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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Victory's Magnum Champagne Award to Stakes-Winning British Farriers for Fifth Straight Year

Congratulations to the six-man farrier team shoeing the Thoroughbred racehorses of top trainer Richard Hannon in Wiltshire, England. The shoers have yet again won the Victory Magnum and no doubt sent Atlantic Equine’s champagne bill into orbit! Notice that the magnums bear special Victory Racing Plate theme labels, and each bottle has the name and silks of a different stakes-winning horse from Hannon’s yard on the label.
Farriers working for top British racehorse trainer Richard Hannon, Jr. have won Europe's Victory Magnum Prize for an unprecedented fifth time in succession.

The Victory Magnum is awarded to the farrier or farriers who shoes are on the most Group 1 winners in England, Ireland and France over any one flat-racing (Thoroughbred) season, as long as the horses are shod with Victory aluminum racing plates.

The farriers were Robert Newman from Bodenham, near Salisbury; Mark Hewlett, Richard Alford and Andy Ford from Wilton; Daley Johnson from Didcot; and Dain Atherden from Lee Common near Great Missenden. 

Between them, these farriers cover Richard Hannon’s Herridge and East Everleigh training yards in the English county of Wiltshire, southwest of London.

“It’s really all thanks to the ongoing success of Richard Hannon Racing,” said Mark Hewlett. “To take over the license and be champion in your first year as a trainer is an incredible achievement.”

“I had no real experience of shoeing racehorses before coming here,” said Dain, the youngest member of the team. “It’s quite a place to learn and I’m grateful to Bert, Mark and Richard for showing me the ropes.” 

Dain and his twin brother Frazer, also a farrier, are top competitors in the show horse world, and have both been winners with their Highland ponies at the prestigious Horse of the Year Show. 

The farriers shoeing the most Grade 1 Stakes winners in the British Thoroughbred racing this year are (L to R): Richard Alford, Daley Johnson, Andy Ford, Tony Lindsell (presenting on behalf of Atlantic Equine), Mark Hewlett, Dain Atherden and Bert Newman. The horse is Night of Thunder, winner of the 2000 Guineas in 2014.

“We’re going for the double hat-trick next season,” said Richard Alford. “Toronado and Olympic Glory may have gone to stud, but Tiggy Wiggy and Night of Thunder stay in training and we’ve got Ivawood, Estidkhaar and unexposed horses like Moheet to look forward to.”

Horses in Great Britain race almost exclusively on grass and are traditionally shod with aluminum plates right before they race. They may train in steel plates; this traditional system requires a lot of shoe-switching, schedule-checking and trips back and forth to the trainer's yard by farriers. This could explain why Richard Hannon employs so many farriers!

Racehorses are not stabled at tracks. Each trainer maintains his own "training yard" but many make use of public open land for conditioning, such as the spectacular heath at Newmarket or the endless downs in southern England. Trainers may also have synthetic "gallops" to use in case of bad weather.

A lot of racing--and farrier--history is shared between the Hannon training family and the Ford and Alford farrier families in Wiltshire. You would have found Tony Ford, Andy’s father, shoeing for Harry Hannon, Richard's grandfather, in the earliest days of the trainer's Everleigh yard; and Brian Alford, father of Richard Alford, shod for Richard Hannon, Sr. from the early 1980’s.

Richard Hannon was this year's leading trainer in Great Britain, although he also won races in France. He won 198 races, including 17 British Group-rated stakes winners and earned prize money of 4.7 million pounds (almost US $7.5 million). He had 114 two-year-old winners. Between the two facilities, he has 260 stalls for horses in training. 

The 2014 Group One winners came courtesy of Night of Thunder (2000 Guineas), Toronado (Queen Anne Stakes), Olympic Glory (Lockinge Stakes and Prix de la Foret), and Tiggy Wiggy (Cheveley Park Stakes).

The Victory Magnum is awarded by Atlantic Equine Ltd, UK distributors for the US-based manufacturer Victory Racing Plate Company of Baltimore, Maryland. Tony Lindsell, a director of Atlantic Equine Ltd, presented the magnums.

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