Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Strong Suit, right, seen here winning the Coventry Stakes, has had his Breeders' Cup preparations hampered.
Rebecca Naden
Strong Suit, right, seen here winning the Coventry Stakes, has had his Breeders' Cup preparations hampered.

Hannon Jr angry as Strong Suit denied Churchill Downs run

Preparation of Sheikh Fahad Al Thani's Breeders' Cup horse suffer after organisers close track following rain.

Richard Hannon Jr was relying on a sprinkle of Sheikh Fahad Al Thani's luck to help Strong Suit on his way to victory in the Breeders' Cup Mile on Saturday, but a dose of anger was added to the mix on Thursday after European trainers were banned from training on the Churchill Downs turf track.

It was raining in Kentucky on Thursday and, as a precaution, the Churchill Downs executive prevented Strong Suit, as well as John Gosden's Elusive Kate and Sir Michael Stoute's Sea Moon, from training on the surface.

Hannon Jr, who was hoping Strong Suit could add to Sheikh Fahad's fortuitous win in the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday, launched a tirade. "It is an absolute disgrace, and I now know why my dad won't come to America," he said. "It has cost us 120,000 (Dh760,000) to bring Strong Suit to America, and we have been treated like second-class citizens.

"They had a bit of rain this morning, but it was nothing major and I could not believe it when we were told that we would not be able to work on the grass track.

"Our plan had been to give Strong Suit a good blow-out around two bends on the track, but that will not be possible now. There is no way we would gallop tomorrow, 24 hours before the race, so they have completely ruined our routine."

The argument has cast a shadow over the two-day Breeders' Cup meeting, which starts on Friday.

It is not as if Strong Suit's task was hard enough, with record-breaking three-time winner Goldikova standing in his way. The Qatari sheikh's colt was given one of the worst post positions in Tuesday's draw, starting from gate 11 of 13 on the tight track. Earlier on Thursday's card Meeznah, owned in part by Saeed Al Tayer, and Farraaj, owned by Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid, could get UAE-based owners off to a bright start in the opening two races, the Marathon and the Juvenile Turf. Nahrain, like Faraaj trained by Roger Varian, runs on Friday in the Filly & Mare Turf.

Godolphin has It's Tricky in Friday's Ladies' Classic, while Alpha, the only America-based horse to not run on the drug Lasix, lines up in the Juvenile on Saturday.


twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Al Rayyan's Yakubu Ayegbeni, left, tries to escape the attention of Jazira's Khamis Ismail. Karim Jaafar / AFP Photo

Late strike puts Al Jazira on verge of qualifying for the last 16 of Asian Champions League

All to play for across East Asia during final round of group phase.

 Manchester City's Vincent Kompany reacts after being sent off by referee Lee Mason during their English Premier League soccer match against Hull City at the KC stadium in Hull, northern England March 15, 2014. REUTERS/Nigel Roddis

Man City’s Manuel Pellegrini says Vincent Kompany is an important player

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini defends team captain and talks about team's injuries ahead of clash with Sunderland at home on Wednesday night.

 Supporters of China during the Asian Cup Qualifier match between Iraq vs China at Sharjah football stadium in Sharjah. Iraq won the match by 3-1. Pawan Singh / The National

Asian Cup expanding to 24 football teams in 2019

As part of a regional shake-up, the 2019 Asian Cup will climb to 24 teams but next month’s Challenge Cup in the Maldives will be the last, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) announced.

 Latifa Ali Al Shamsi of UAE fights compatriot Boshra Ghanem Al Zadjali in their 38.5kg match at the Junior World Jiu-Jitsu Championship. Christopher Pike / The National

Competitors at Abu Dhabi Junior World Jiu-Jitsu Championship target world domination

All of Wednesday’s winners at the tournament, being held in the UAE capital, are ambitious enough to target a black belt and reach the pinnacle of the sport, Amith Passela reports.

 Jacques Kallis top-scored with 72 for Kolkata Knight Riders against Mumbai Indians at Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday. Pawan Singh / The National

Kallis kicks off IPL 7 with fifty as Kolkata thrash Mumbai

South African legend shows class is permanent as Knight Riders beat defending champions by 41 runs. Osman Samiuddin reports from Abu Dhabi.

 Amir Khan, during a workout at the Gloves Community Centre on March 24, 2014 in Bolton, England, says his fight will be the real main event in Las Vegas on May 3. Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Amir Khan says bout with Luis Collazo ‘will steal the show’ in Las Vegas on May 3

British-Pakistani boxer Amir Khan says his fight with Luis Collazo will be the main attraction on same fight card led by Floyd Mayweather Jr and Marcos Maidana, writes Omar Al Raisi.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National