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Hammond set to retire

Tue 24th Sep 2019, 12:28

Trainer John Hammond has announced he will retire at the end of this year.

Hammond, who has trained in Chantilly for the past 31 years, is best known for his association with the brilliant Montjeu - along with Suave Dancer, giving him two Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winners.

Montjeu, who won both the French and Irish Derby and the Arc in 1999, numbered Ascot's 2000 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes among his six Group One successes - and became a notable sire for Coolmore.

Hammond, born in Kent but based in France throughout his career, has decided to stop training at the age of 59.

He told Thoroughbred Daily News: "I've had a great trot.

"I have been spoilt with good owners, good staff, some great horses and some fantastic memories that I will cherish forever.

"However, everything has a lifespan — and it was never my intention to train until I dropped."

The exploits of Suave Dancer brought Hammond his first Classic success- in the 1991 Prix du Jockey Club, ridden at Chantilly by Cash Asmussen - and he went on to land the Arc later that year.

The American was also on board Montjeu in his Classic wins, before the colt’s switch to the part ownership of Michael Tabor - for whom Mick Kinane then mostly rode him in the Arc and beyond.

Kinane told the PA news agency: "I always enjoyed riding for John - and he did a very good job with Montjeu, because he definitely wasn’t the easiest horse to train.

"I always found him a very good man to ride for, and a gentleman.

"Winning the King George and the Arc (on Montjeu) are the two days that stand out.

"When Montjeu was at the top of his game, he was an exceptional racehorse."

Among Hammond’s big-race successes were three Haydock Sprint Cups with Polar Falcon (1991), Cherokee Rose (1995) and Nuclear Debate (2001), the Nunthorpe with the latter in 2000, and the Lockinge with Polar Falcon (1991).

Hammond intends to switch his attentions to bloodstock operation OTI Racing, but will retain his yard in Chantilly and lease it to Japanese trainer Hiroo Shimizu.