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Two-time Champion Jockey Paul Hanagan plumps for Eshtibaak in Saturday's Lincoln
TWO-time Champion Jockey Paul Hanagan hopes he has made the right choice ahead his ride in the William Hill Lincoln at Doncaster on Saturday.
Given the choice of two Sheik Hamdan al Maktoum horses, the Latchford-born 32-year-old has plumped for 12/1 shot Eshtibaak ahead of 6/1 market leader Lahaag as he bids to break his duck in the Class 2 handicap at 3.50pm.
Lahaag will be ridden by trainer John Gosden’s stable jockey William Buick, after Hanagan decided that Eshtibaak’s unlucky runs at Kempton and Ascot had not shown the five-year-old in the best light.
“It was my choice in the end and it was a tough decision to make, as there is not a lot in it,” he said.
“The only thing that really swung it for me is that Eshtibaak was probably the unluckiest horse last season.
“I won on him at Lingfield and then twice got so unlucky.
“He got wiped out at the first bend at Kempton and the next time he never really came off the bridle at Ascot.
“He also had a few problems along the way, which is why we haven’t seen him since.
“I just hope that I have made the right call, but I just think that Eshtibaak just has a bit more class.
“He was so unlucky and it would be very different in the betting now if he had gone on to win those races, which I absolutely think he could have done.”
Hanagan has flown back from a successful spell in Dubai especially for the season-opening meeting at Doncaster, and he plans to head back on Sunday ahead of next week’s Dubai World Cup at Meydan.
He hopes that the trip will be worthwhile, as Doncaster officials have planned 8am course inspections tomorrow, Friday, and Saturday.
“The forecast looks absolutely awful, it was a shock to get off that plane this morning,” he said.
“I am keeping my fingers crossed that it is still on, I have come all this way for it.
“It would be my first Lincoln and I want to win it.
"I have hit the crossbar a few times, but I would love to get it under my belt.”