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Paul Hanagan’s agony over farewell to long-standing boss Richard Fahey
PAUL HANAGAN has admitted he found it hard to tell long-term boss Richard Fahey that he was leaving to take up the job of first jockey to Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum.
The dual champion jockey, who has been with Malton based Fahey, for 17 years, will replace Richard Hills in Newmarket when the rider retires following the end of the Dubai World Cup meeting next month.
Hanagan, who also won the title of champion apprentice while at Musley Bank, will continue to ride for the Ryedale trainer when available – and Fahey has indicated he will not be appointing a replacement.
Speaking of the moment he told Fahey of his decision to leave eariler this week, Hanagan said: “It was quite emotional when I went round to see him. I definitely would not be in this position if not for Richard Fahey. I owe him so much, it was a very emotional time.”
Hanagan is the second big northern jockey to decide to move south in a week, joining Thirsk-based Silvestre de Sousa, who has agreed to move to Godolphin.
Hanagan added: “To be offered that role was an offer I couldn’t resist.
“You always hear a few rumours going around. I’ve been champion jockey twice so I like to think I would have been in the running (for a job like this), but it’s a lot to get your head around, it’s just starting to sink in now.
“Plenty of trainers train for Sheikh Hamdan that I have ridden for for many years, Ed Dunlop, William Haggas, and anytime I’m not riding for Sheikh Hamdan I’m going to try my very best to ride as many as I can for Richard so hopefully not all ties are lost.
“There were plenty of people saying he’s twice champion jockey but he’s only ridden one Group 1 winner (Wootton Bassett), and with the history of Sheikh Hamdan with so many Classics and a Derby, so many great horses – it was just something I couldn’t turn down.
“The history, the set-up, it’s the best in the world and I had to look at all points of view.
“I want to improve the quality of horse that I ride but I felt sorry for Richard really as he showed with Wootton Bassett that given the right horse he could do the job. He just needs the right horses.
“The one thing that swung it for me really was the history of Sheikh Hamdan’s horses and hopefully we can keep it going.
“I’ve had a scan at a few of the horses, there’s plenty there, but it’s a lot to take in so I’ll be getting my head in the form books and doing as much as I can so it will be a bit easier.”