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Two-time Champion Jockey Paul Hanagan ready for Dubai challenge
WARRINGTON rider Paul Hanagan believes his first season as Sheik Hamdan Al-Maktoum’s first jockey ‘could not have been better’.
The 32-year-old moved to Newmarket to join the Hamdan stable at the start of the season and, while he has not troubled Richard Hughes at the top of the Champion Jockey standings, his Group 1 win on Mayson in the Darley July Cup and victory on Ghurair for his new boss in the Tattersalls Millions Trophy have ensured this year will be considered one of his most successful.
“In terms for prize money, the Tattersalls win was the largest of my career," he said, having scooped a first prize of £277,522 for owner and trainer.
“That was fantastic, it really put the icing on the cake for me this year.
“We just needed a big win like that as it gives us a big race to look forward to next year; I think there is a great chance we’ll have a crack at the Guineas.”
His move to Newmarket may have officially ended his 13-year role as first jockey to York-based trainer Richard Fahey, but it did not stop the pair combining for some of the largest prizes of their careers this season, including a first Group 1 win on British soil for the Latchford-born jockey on the Fahey-trained sprinter Mayson.
“I am really chuffed how it has worked out with Richard,” he said “He has had about 150 winners, a Group 1 win and Listed success, so I am really pleased I have been able to continue playing a part.
“I wasn’t sure how it was going to work, but it has, and hopefully it will continue to do so.”
As the British flat season begins to wind down Hanagan will take the chance to relax as much as possible, mainly because his new role with the Middle Eastern owner means that a highly anticipated spell in Dubai is on the cards this winter.
It’s a stomping ground that Hanagan is familiar with though having spent time as a jockey to Dubai-based trainer Paddy Rudkin in 2001.
“It looks likely I will go over in the middle of December and stay there with my family until March,” added Hanagan.
“I’m really looking forward to a new challenge.”