We are delighted to bring you an Interview with Thore Hammer Hansen. I first spoke to Thore in March 2019 as part of our Rising Stars Series’ of interviews, we have stayed in touch and now 16 months later the time was right for a follow up chat.
Thore is an Apprentice based with Richard Hannon and has a 5Lb claim, which he is hoping to lose this season. He has ridden in the Queens colours, became a Royal Ascot winner & is being mentioned for the Champion Apprentice title this season…..
Firstly, you took the winter off to keep your claim for the start of the season, how did you spend your winter?
Yes, the plan was always to save my claim over winter. I was riding a few for the boss every now and then to keep me going. I was really busy breaking in the yearlings at home and keeping myself fit outside work.
With racing having only been back a month, how did you spend your time during the lockdown with no racing to prepare for?
It was a little strange at the start but didn’t take long to get used to. I was still really busy at Mr. Hannon’s so luckily, I didnt have much time to get bored.
How do you think last season went for you?
I had a great season last year with some great rides at big meetings. And I was lucky enough to get aboard some good horses and build more contacts.
Do you have a favourite race from last season?
It would have to be the Chester Plate aboard Coeur De Lion for Mr. King and the Barbury Boys. He is quite special for me as I won my first big handicap on him and he was my first Royal Ascot ride and went on to win there a year later.
How are you finding the new procedures for the new season, with temperature checks & riding in masks?
Obviously I would prefer it to go back to normal but with the current situation it’s necessary to have these procedures. And to be honest it doesn’t take a long time to get used to.
You have started the new campaign in fine form with a couple of nice winners, especially at Royal Ascot…. How did that feel to get a winner at that meeting?
Yes, I have had a great few weeks in the saddle since racing returned, I was really impressed with Lexington Dash at Newmarket and think he’s well able to go on to bigger races. Obviously the stand out was Coeur De Lion winning at Royal Ascot. Without a doubt the best day I’ve had in the saddle and one that I wont forget.
At what point during the race did you think you were going to win?
Turning in, I thought he would run a big race and he would finish in the first five. At the furlong pole I realised i was going to get there and win the race if nothing comes from behind.
How strange is it without the crowds?
It’s probably the only thing I haven’t got used to yet since racing resumed. You still get that winning but it’s nowhere near the same.
As your dad is a former Jockey, what advice has he given you?
He gives me advice on a daily basis, but the one thing that stands out was “champions are made where no one looks”
And what did he say after your Royal Ascot winner?
He was very proud and we went through the race together. Both my Mom and Dad were absolutely over the moon.
Have you set any targets for the season?
The main target is to ride as many winners as I can and build up more contacts with owners and trainers.
Your being mentioned as a potential Champion apprentice this season, there is plenty of competition… Is this on your agenda or have you not thought about it?
It’s something I have dreamed about ever since I started riding horses. I would love to be crowned champion apprentice but i wouldn’t be disappointed if it didn’t happen. There’s a lot of very talented apprentices, but I will give it a good go!
How do you relax away from racing?
I suppose I sleep most of the time when I’m at home so that would have to be my answer.
A few quick fire questions….. All Favourites!!
Music? All sorts
Other Sports? Motocross
And finally, can you give our readers a horse to follow for the season ahead?
I would have to say Lexington Dash after his brilliant run at Newmarket and I hope he hasn’t stopped improving yet. I would love to see him in better races, he has everything you would be looking for in a racehorse.
We would like to thank Thore for his time & wish him all the success this season and going forward. No doubt you can see Thore in a winners enclosure very soon & is a future Champion in the making…..
Interview by Rich Williams
Pictures – Thore Hammer Hansen – In Queens colours & Full flow ( Twitter)
Lexington Dash & Coeur De Lion – Graham Clarke (With kind permission)