Paul Hanagan’s 5 best horses as champion jockey retires
Classic-winning jockey Paul Hanagan retired from the saddle after riding at York this week.
Hanagan was the leading apprentice in 2002 and was crowned champion jockey twice – first winning the title in 2010 when he rode 205 winners in a calendar year and successfully defending his crown in 2011, when he partnered 177 winners over the 12 months.
Recent seasons have proved more difficult, suffering a serious fall in February 2020 that resulted in three fractured vertebrae and a prolonged period on the sidelines, eventually returning to action in August that year and steering Majestic Dawn to a popular victory in the Cambridgeshire the following month.
As he bows out after a 25-year career in the saddle, we reflect on Paul Hanagan’s best horses:
Taghrooda won her only juvenile start and then blazed home by six lengths in the Pretty Polly Stakes to mark herself as a Classic contender. She went to post as a 5/1 shot for John Gosden in the Oaks, making easy work of a near four-length win before exploiting the three-year-old allowance to perfection to follow up in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot.
Narrowly beaten as the 1/5 favourite in the Yorkshire Oaks, she rounded off her career when beaten just over three lengths into third in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
The sprint king of 2015, Muhaarar’s ability was evident when winning the Gimcrack the previous season.
Trained by Charlie Hills, Muhaarar won the Greenham which prompted a crack at the French 2000 Guineas, but after failing to stay he dropped back to six furlongs and mopped up the Commonwealth Cup, July Cup and Prix Maurice de Gheest before signing off with a British Champions Sprint triumph.
Wootton Bassett was a landmark horse for the Paul Hanagan-Richard Fahey axis, providing the pair with their first Group One success in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere. That victory capped a five-race unbeaten juvenile campaign for the colt, which also included a couple of richly-endowed sales events at Doncaster and York along the way.
While he did not win at three, he has gone on to prove a stallion revelation with a welter of Group One winners and a current stud fee of €150,000.
Sands Of Mali
Winner of the 2017 Gimcrack Stakes, he took the Sandy Lane and finished second in the Commonwealth Cup the following spring, but by the time midsummer came around, it looked as though he had posted his best as he turned in a couple of lacklustre runs.
However, soft ground at Ascot in the autumn saw him roar back to form and defy his odds of 28/1 to win the British Champions Sprint on what was his final run in Hanagan’s hands.
At his peak in his four-year-old season, Mayson won the Abernant and Palace House Stakes on Newmarket’s Rowley Mile before successfully switching to the July course to land the July Cup later in the campaign.
He had only one more run after that, when edged by a neck in the Prix de l’Abbaye at ParisLongchamp, completing a fine rise through the ranks to bow out with a rating of 119.