Paul Hanagan dashed past another significant milestone on what is proving an epic journey for the whole sport at Ayr yesterday, riding his 100th winner of the campaign in the opener. He then rode his 101st and 102nd on his next two mounts, in the process extending his lead over Ryan Moore in the race for the jockeys' championship to 18.
It was fitting that he should have brought up the ton on Goldenveil, who won by seven lengths as a hot favourite trained by Richard Fahey. He has been the principal spur to Hanagan's prolific campaign, though there is no mistaking the breadth of support and goodwill behind the jockey on the northern circuit. Sure enough, his next winners were saddled by Jim Goldie and Peter Niven. No less typical, equally, was Hanagan's temperate response to the landmark. "I definitely didn't expect to reach 100 as quickly as this," he told the Racing Post. "It was quite late on in the back-end when I got there last year. It's incredible to do it this early. The season couldn't have gone much better but I just hope it can continue. There is such a long way to go."
Moore, who resumed the pursuit of his challenger at Windsor last night, has an even bigger priority this week in his reunion with Workforce, the spectacular Derby winner, in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot on Saturday. As tends to be the case nowadays, a fairly small field was guaranteed when only seven others were left in the race yesterday, including potential pacemakers for Workforce and Cape Blanco respectively in Confront and At First Sight. Older horses, who have not faced a challenge like this from the Classic generation for several years, are this time represented by Harbinger, Dar Re Mi, Daryakana and Youmzain. Workforce was yesterday trading at 11-10 on Betfair, the race sponsors, with Harbinger 13-5, Cape Blanco 8-1 and Dar Re Mi 15-1.
Snow Fairy, runaway winner of the Irish Oaks on Sunday, may follow Ed Dunlop's previous winner of the Epsom-Curragh double, Ouija Board, to the Breeders' Cup this autumn. Ouija Board was first, second and first in three consecutive raids, and Dunlop said yesterday: "You know my love affair with the Breeders' Cup. She needs nominating for that, which is expensive, but we will give her a holiday now and see how we go."
Chris McGrath's Map Mutadarrej (3.30 Ffos Las)
Has followed a fairly long and winding road but immediate signs of rejuvenation on his debut for Ian Williams at Southwell a couple of weeks ago.
Next best Pelham Crescent (5.0 Ffos Las)
Back down to the rating off which he won his fourth race of the year over this trip last autumn. Hinted that he might soon take advantage when fourth over an inadequate distance at Bath the other day.
One to watch Be A Devil (W R Muir) has exhausted the patience of most by now but warrants perseverance after again being left with too much to do at Epsom last week.
Where the money's going Youmzain is 14-1 from 20-1 with Totesport for the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes on Saturday.