Retiring former British Champion jockey Paul Hanagan touched by emotional farewell

The two-time champion famously rode for the late Sheikh Hamdan in 2012-2016

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Paul Hanagan has ridden seven Group One winners for Sheikh Hamdan. File photo/ Juidin Bernarrd
Paul Hanagan has ridden seven Group One winners for Sheikh Hamdan. File photo/ Juidin Bernarrd

By Leslie Wilson Jr.

Published: Fri 25 Aug 2023, 8:38 PM

It may not been the perfect ending to what has been a distinguished career, but former British champion jockey Paul Hanagan rode into the sunset with his head held high.

Hanagan finished way behind the winner in the SkyBet Handicap at York on Friday but the result did not matter as he had been accorded a warm guard of honour by fellow jockeys that he can be proud of and cherish for the rest of his life.

It was the final time that Hanagan, the champion jockey in 2010 and 2011 would get on board a racehorse after 1,006 career rides at York. He also received a warm round of applause which prompted the 42-year-old ride who was born in Warrington, Cheshire to say:

"I'm still in shock with the ovation I got from the crowd round the paddock, that was a wow moment and a very proud moment for me," he said after the race.

"It wasn't to be on my last ride but we all know that horseracing isn't straightforward the whole time. It was good to go out like that for (trainer) Richard (Fahey). I owe him a lot."

Racing fans in Dubai will remember the shy rider who was appointed as No 1 jockey to the late Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, former Deputy ruler of Dubai, for whom he had ridden seven Group 1 winners during a five-year association between 2012 and 2017.

His biggest success in Sheikh Hamdan’s famous blue and white silks came aboard Taghrooda in the Epsom Oaks (G1) and King George (G1) in 2014. He also rode Muhaarar, a Cartier Racing Awards Champion Sprinter, to win the July Cup at Newmarket and the Champion Sprint Stakes at Ascot in October.

"You gear up for it and get ready for it but when the day comes it's a bit surreal,” Hanagan said at York. "I walked the track with my two boys and got a little bit upset but in the right way – I was telling them not to worry if I get upset because it's out of happiness at such a great career."


Hanagan admitted that he was a bit overwhelmed with the warm send-off he received saying:: "I didn't think I'd made such an impact. I know being a champion jockey you're in the limelight but arriving here today every single person came up to me and shook my hand and said well done.

"I've got all my family here today and they're coming back to Malton. We're probably going to go out for a few drinks and it's going to be an enjoyable day."

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