Richard Fahey will not replace champion jockey Paul Hanagan
08:09 24 February 2012
PA Wire/Press Association Images
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Yorkshire trainer Richard Fahey has revealed that he will not be replacing stable jockey Paul Hanagan, following news of the dual-champion’s move south to ride for Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum.
Hanagan accepted the sought-after position following the announcement that the Sheikh’s first jockey, Richard Hills, is to retire from race-riding next month, after a career spanning 33 years.
However Fahey, Hanagan’s employer for the past 17 years, has said that he will continue to use the 31-year-old – who last season successfully defended his crown – as often as he can and will not seek another stable jockey.
“He [Hanagan] will still be riding for our stable when available and therefore I will not be appointing a replacement,” Fahey said.
“I’m delighted for Paul because he is a top man in every respect and he’ll do a very good job for Sheikh Hamdan. He has been with me for 17 years and from early on I knew he’d be champion one day.”
Hanagan said: “I followed Sheikh Hamdan’s horses when at school and therefore to be appointed his number one jockey is a dream.
“I wouldn’t be in this position but for Richard Fahey and it was quite emotional when I went to his home last night to break the news about the job. But I must stress I will still be riding for Richard when available.”
Meanwhile Derby-winning handler John Dunlop, who trains many of Sheikh Hamdan’s horses, has praised Hills’ character and ability.
“He rode primarily for Tom Jones when he first started riding for Sheikh Hamdan but subsequent to that, and after Willie Carson’s retirement, he rode as number one jockey for Sheikh Hamdan,” Dunlop said.
“He has been the most marvellous, reliable, most consistent stable jockey that you could possibly have. And a very nice young man too.”