Two-time champion jockey Paul Hanagan has enjoyed his share of Champions Series glory and returned from serious injury in 2020 to ride the 2,000th winner of his illustrious career.
Hanagan reached his milestone, aged 40, aboard Anif for Michael Herrington at Newcastle. He had missed the first half of a truncated season after breaking his back at the same track earlier in the year.
The Warrington-born rider told Sky Sports Racing: “If someone had said to me when I was 16 or 17 I’d get to 2,000 winners and luckily (have) all the success I’ve had, I wouldn’t have quite believed them. I owe my success to a lot of people and I’ve been very lucky to have been around good people. I’m so chuffed.”
Champion apprentice in 2002, Hanagan went on to secure the champion jockey title in in 2010 and 2011. Trainer Richard Fahey, who Hanagan has ridden for since 1999, played a big role in his title triumphs.
That achievement saw him land the coveted role of retained rider for Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum for a couple of seasons.
In that time he won the Oaks and King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes on the brilliant Taghrooda, plus the Coral-Eclipse aboard Mukhadram for William Haggas. He also partnered Charlie Hills’ champion sprinter Muhaarar to three Group 1 wins in 2015.
Looking back on his winners, Hanagan told Great British Racing: “I’ve had so many good days, so many great winners, I’ve been very lucky throughout my career. If some had to stand out, obviously my Classic winner Taghrooda at Epsom, but some races maybe mean more like winning the Ayr Gold Cup on Fonthill Road, which was one of the yard’s favourites and my favourite with lovely owners, those are just as special.
“I’ve been very lucky, but I think to ride a Classic winner, as a lad from Warrington that hadn’t had much racing background, there’s probably hope for everyone.”
Hanagan was champion in 2010 after an epic duel with Richard Hughes and retained his crown after a similarly epic battle with Silvestre De Sousa, who he beat by just four winners.
He became only the third northern jockey in 105 years to win the championship.
His latest Champions Series success was on the Fahey-trained Sands of Mali in the Sprint on Champions Day in 2018.