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 New Zealand Gallops News 
Tuesday, June 27 2017

Robert Hannam is heading for warmer climes and a return to a racing environment he first plied his trade in nearly a quarter of a century ago.

The affable central districts jockey will fly to India next Tuesday to take up a three-month contract, starting on July 13.Robert Hannam returning to scale after success in the Gr.1 Captain Cook Stakes with Aide Memoire.  - Race Images Palmerston North

Hannam enjoyed a successful first stint there 23 years ago and during his three-year stay he racked up more than 200 winners against world class opposition, including a legend of the turf.

"I rode against Lester Piggott," he said. "Kieren Fallon, whose contract I took over, was there and Kevin Darley."

Hannam won't lack for opportunities this time around either with the backing of an old acquaintance.

"I'm going to be riding for Vittal Reddy, who was an assistant trainer when I was first there," he said.

"He messaged me and was keen for me to come over so we worked out a deal – you don't get too many offers at my age!"

The 50-year-old Group One-winning rider also has the possibility of extending his stay.

"Vittal has about 30 horses in work and his assistant has 20 so I will have the use of two stables and I'll be riding on Thursday and Fridays at Hyderabad and Saturday and Sundays at Bangalore. They are beautiful big tracks.

"At the end of the three months we'll assess whether or not I stay on for the winter season, another four and a half months when the stake money goes higher."

Until then, Hannam said each race carried a purse of about $10,000 with a riding fee in the region of $100 and a jockey's percentage at 7.5.

"I'll be away from family for quite a while, so you have to weigh it all up and it's worthwhile. My wife Kim will be coming out for three weeks and then again during the latter part of my stint."

Hannam's domestic 2016-17 season was highlighted in April when he posted his 1000th New Zealand riding success aboard Artaxerxes at Trentham.

His career tally features Group One victories with Greene Street (Avondale Cup, International Stakes), Iamishwara (Otaki WFA Classic), Distill (Levin Classic) and Aide Memoire (Captain Cook Stakes).

Posted by: Racing Desk AT 06:34 am   |  Permalink   |  Email