The juvenile sprinters hog the spotlight at Newbury in July as they contest the Weatherbys Super Sprint.
The conditions of this race are a little different from the standard handicap affairs we are used to. With the weights being allocated according to the price paid for each horse, it is not necessarily the best horse which carries the most weight here, merely the most expensive.
The race is relatively young in racing terms, running for the first time in 1991. The idea for the contest was developed by the late Lord Carnarvon, who was racing manager to the Queen, and former Trainer Richard Hannon Senior.
Weatherbys Super Sprint Past Winners
|2020||Happy Romance||10/3||Richard Hannon||Sean Levey|
|2019||Bettys Hope||14/1||Rod Millman||Silvestre De Sousa|
|2018||Ginger Nut||16/1||Richard Hannon||Harry Bentley|
|2017||Bengali Boys||12/1||Richard Fahey||Barry McHugh|
|2016||Mrs Danvers||9/2||Jonathan Portman||Luke Morris|
|2015||Lathom||28/1||Richard Fahey||Tony Hamilton|
|2014||Tiggy Wiggy||5/2||Richard Hannon||Richard Hughes|
|2013||Peniaphobia||5/1||Richard Fahey||Paul Hanagan|
|2012||Body And Soul||9/2||Tim Easterby||Duran Fentiman|
|2011||Charles The Great||25/1||Andrew Balding||Jimmy Fortune|
|2010||Temple Meads||5/1||Ed McMahon||Richard Mullen|
|2009||Monsieur Chevalier||2/1||Richard Hannon Sr.||Richard Hughes|
|2008||Jargelle||20/1||William Haggas||Liam Jones|
|2006||Elhamri||9/1||Sylvester Kirk||Declan McDonogh|
|2005||Lady Livius||100/1||Richard Hannon Sr.||Martin Dwyer|
|2004||Siena Gold||11/2||Brian Meehan||Frankie McDonald|
|2003||If Paradise||14/1||Richard Hannon Sr.||Dane O'Neill|
|2002||Presto Vento||6/1||Richard Hannon Sr.||Eddie Ahern|
|2001||Good Girl||5/1||Tim Easterby||Michael Roberts|
About the Weatherbys Super Sprint: Pounds (lbs) For Pounds (£)
There are many top flat handicaps throughout the summer months, but not too many quite like this juvenile contest held at Newbury in July. Limited to two year olds only, this five furlong sprint affair is one of the most valuable events of its type of the season, offering a not inconsiderable £250,000 (as of 2019) in total prize money.
There is nothing unique in a five furlong handicap restricted to juveniles, but what is fairly novel with this race is the manner in which the weights to be carried by the contenders are assigned. Unlike in a standard handicap – where the weights carried are determined by the runners’ official ratings – in this race the burden to be shouldered is directly related to the price paid for each of runners.
Open only to horses who fetched less than a specified amount at public auction (£63,000 in 2019), weight is deducted in line with the price paid: the more expensive the horse, the more weight they will carry. A runner purchased for the maximum £63,000 will carry top weight of 9st3lb, with a pound in weight being deducted for every £5,000 below this maximum value. So for example a runner costing £53,000 would carry 9st1lb. In common with many other events of this type, any fillies in the field also receive a five pound allowance from the males.
Magnificent Seven For Richard
This race is a relative newcomer to the scene in racing terms, having first been run in 1991. However it hasn’t taken long for a number of trainers to rack up a pretty impressive record in the event. None more so than the now retired Richard Hannon Senior, whose seven wins between the years of 1993 and 2009 put him way out in front at the head of the table of top trainers.
Hot on his heels though is a certain Richard Hannon Junior, as whatever Richard Hannon Snr. knew about lining a runner up for success in this race, he seems to have passed on to his son. Hannon Jnr, Tim Easterby and Richard Fahey boast the best records of the current handlers, with three wins apiece as of 2020.
Hannon Duo The Pick Of The Bunch
Whilst this contest is really designed to give the smaller owners and cheaper horses a realistic shot at landing a big pot, that doesn’t mean winners of the event can’t go on to make their presence felt at a much higher level.
The pick of the Richard Hannon Snr. septet to have come home in front was undoubtedly his first ever winner of the race, 1992 champ Lyric Fantasy. A winner of six of her 10 career starts, her career highlight came when becoming the first horse to ever win the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes at York as a two year old.
Lyric Fantasy’s Racing Record: 1992 – 1993
|27/4/1992||2||Lady Caroline Stakes (Windsor)||Class 6||1st||3/1||£2k|
|26/5/1992||2||National Stakes (Sandown)||Listed||1st||2/1||£7k|
|16/6/1992||2||Queen Mary Stakes (Ascot)||Group 3||1st||11/8||£24k|
|18/7/1992||2||Super Sprint Stakes (Newbury)||Class 2||1st||2/5||£59K|
|20/8/1992||2||Nunthorpe Stakes (York)||Group 1||1st||8/11||£94k|
|30/9/1992||2||Cheveley Park Stakes (Newmarket)||Group 1||2nd||1/2||£26k|
|29/4/1993||3||1000 Guineas (Newmarket)||Group 1||6th||14/1||£0|
|22/5/1993||3||Charlotte Fillies Stakes (Newmarket)||Listed||1st||1/3||£10k|
|18/6/1993||3||King’s Stand Stakes (Ascot)||Group 2||7th||7/2||£0|
|19/8/1993||3||Nunthorpe Stakes (York)||Group 1||11th||8/1||£0|
The best winner of them all though was the Richard Hannon Jnr.-trained Tiggy Wiggy who scorched the turf on route to a six length rout here in 2014. Having already scored at Listed level at the time of that success, she then went on to prove even better than that with a win in the Group 2 Lowther Stakes, before success in the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes cemented her status as the Cartier Champion Two Year Old Filly for 2014.
Tiggy Wiggy’s Racing Record: 2014 – 2015
|29/3/2014||2||Maiden Fillies’ Stakes (Kempton)||Class 4||1st||8/13||£4k|
|4/5/2014||2||Fillies’ Conditions Stakes (Salisbury)||Class 3||1st||8/11||£7k|
|16/5/2014||2||Marygate Stakes (York)||Listed||2nd||4/1||£9k|
|29/5/2014||2||National Stakes (Sandown)||Listed||1st||3/1||£15k|
|18/6/2014||2||Queen Mary Stakes (Ascot)||Group 2||2nd||7/2||£22k|
|19/7/2014||2||Super Sprint Stakes (Newbury)||Class 2||1st||5/2||£123k|
|21/8/2014||2||Lowther Stakes (York)||Group 2||1st||15/8||£85k|
|27/9/2014||2||Cheveley Park Stakes (Newmarket)||Group 1||1st||6/4||£118k|
|15/4/2015||3||Fred Darling Stakes (Newbury)||Group 3||3rd||11/10||£6k|
|3/5/2015||3||1000 Guineas (Newmarket)||Group 1||3rd||9/1||£44k|
|19/6/2015||3||Commonwealth Cup (Ascot)||Group 1||16th||6/1||0|
|5/9/2015||3||Sprint Cup (Haydock)||Group 1||15th||16/1||0|