Sunday 26 March 2017

Hanagan opts for quality over quantity with switch to Hamdan team

Marcus Armytage

Betting on the 2012 Flat jockeys' championship underwent its second shake-up of the week yesterday when Paul Hanagan was announced as the new first jockey to Sheikh Hamdan al Maktoum.

Hanagan narrowly beat Richard Hughes to win the title in 2010 and was then pushed equally hard last season by Silvestre de Sousa, who was appointed No 2 at Godolphin earlier in the week.

The pair are, theoretically, swapping quantity for quality. Last season, Sheikh Hamdan had 100 winners but lacked a superstar.

"It wasn't an easy decision," admitted Hanagan. "I've been with Richard Fahey for 17 years and it was quite emotional when I went to see him. I wouldn't be where I am if it wasn't for him and any time I'm not riding for Sheikh Hamdan, I'll ride for Richard.

"It was the history of Sheikh Hamdan's operation that swung me -- there are so many Classics. To be offered this role was an offer I couldn't resist. His loyalty and set-up is first class."

Ladbrokes have made Kieren Fallon, Ryan Moore and Richard Hughes their 4/1 joint-favourites to be champion jockey this year with Hanagan a 6/1 chance.

Meanwhile, the British Horseracing Authority is to instigate what it is describing as an 'incident room' at the Cheltenham Festival, with the specific task of monitoring what is being broadcast on television, radio, online and across social media. The aim is to keep officials on the ground up to speed with public opinion and enable them to react accordingly.

The scheme, which will also be in operation at Aintree, was borne out of last year's in-depth Grand National review. A combination of communication failures, by the course and BHA, resulted in a storm of adverse public opinion, which was exacerbated because officials were unaware of what was being said and were unable to react to it. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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