Paul Hanagan determined to end Sheikh Hamdan's long wait

 

Consecutive championships and a lucrative retainer for Sheikh Hamdan having failed to make the remotest impression on his innate humility, Paul Hanagan has no problem with the scenario facing him at Sandown on Saturday. For in order to give Mukhadram a chance of reversing form with Al Kazeem in the Coral Eclipse Stakes, Hanagan must deflect at least some of the praise lavished upon him for an outstanding ride at Royal Ascot last month.

"To be honest, I felt a bit guilty to be taking so much credit," the jockey confessed. "We've always thought a lot about this horse, and he has improved every time I've sat on him. He's still lightly raced, a very good-looking individual who seems a lot stronger this year."

Mukhadram was only run down by a neck in the Prince of Wales's Stakes, after Hanagan had sent him scuttling clear off the home turn. But it was not as if the pace had been farcically slow. This was simply a tremendously alert, enterprising ride on a colt who looks eligible to control the tempo once again on Saturday – not least after being drawn on the rail.

"I did manage to fill him up with a lovely breather before kicking at Ascot," Hanagan said. "But this is a very uncomplicated horse. He doesn't have to make the running. If someone else wants to go flat out, I'll be happy to take a lead. But if I find myself in front again, so be it. He does have this great long stride, and certainly seemed to enjoy things at Ascot."

Having ridden him in all seven career starts, Mukhadram has become one of the first significant Hamdan projects to bear Hanagan's personal imprint. As such, there could be no more fitting conveyance for a first Group One win in his patron's silks – a breakthrough again plucked from his grasp only in the final strides of another race at the royal meeting. As it happens, Declaration Of War – Aljamaaheer's nemesis in the Queen Anne Stakes – joins Al Kazeem as a familiar obstruction.

"I was absolutely gutted when Declaration Of War came and caught Aljamaaheer," Hanagan said. "But after watching the replay, I had to admit he would have been very unlucky not to get there. And he does look like the extra distance will be okay for him."

The pain of those near-misses at Ascot obtained a literal quality on the final day, when Ektihaam took a frightening fall when leading in the Hardwicke Stakes. "It was just frustrating, really, because I thought him one of my best chances of the week," Hanagan said. "Unfortunately we happened to have that downpour of rain, and it just got slippery on the bends. I was a bit battered and bruised, but I've had plenty of physio and took a couple of extra days off this week, with a busy spell ahead."

Hanagan did hasten back, five days after that spill, to ride a juvenile named Ertijaal – trained, like Mukhadram, by William Haggas – to a really impressive success. "I don't want to get carried away," he stressed. "It was only a Yarmouth maiden. But he couldn't have done it any better, gave me a really nice feel, and seems to have a lovely temperament."

Ertijaal could run at the July Festival at Newmarket, but it would be gratifying if Hanagan did not have to wait until the blossoming of this colt's raw talent for the milestone he craves next. "I would just love to get that Group One for Sheikh Hamdan," he said. "It's such a massive team effort, and I love being part of that. All I can do is try my best, and hope it comes soon."

Who knows? More of the same on Mukhadram, and it might even come on Saturday.

Turf account

Chris Mcgrath's Nap

Altharoos (7.30 Beverley) Won his maiden round here and looked better than this rating when resuming at Sandown last month, staying on well after getting held up in traffic.

Next best

Mankini (4.45 Doncaster) Gave the winner a head start at Leicester last week but pulled 15 lengths clear of the rest and should make amends off the same mark.

One to watch

Arch Villain (Amanda Perrett) Could not sustain his winning spree in the Northumberland Plate but challenged smoothly before fading and may yet resume his progress back in trip.

Arts and Entertainment
Joe Cocker performing on the Stravinski hall stage during the Montreux Jazz Festival, in Montreux, Switzerland in 2002
musicHe 'turned my song into an anthem', says former Beatle
News
Clarke Carlisle
sport
Sport
footballStoke City vs Chelsea match report
Arts and Entertainment
theatreThe US stars who've taken to UK panto, from Hasselhoff to Hall
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
News
newsIt was due to be auctioned off for charity
News
Coca-Cola has become one of the largest companies in the world to push staff towards switching off their voicemails, in a move intended to streamline operations and boost productivity
peopleCoca-Cola staff urged to switch it off to boost productivity
Environment
Sir David Attenborough
environment... as well as a plant and a spider
Voices
'That's the legal bit done. Now on to the ceremony!'
voicesThe fight for marriage equality isn't over yet, says Siobhan Fenton
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Regulatory / Compliance / Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: Exeter - An excellent opportunity for a Solici...

Ashdown Group: IT Support Technician - 12 Month Fixed Term - Shrewsbury

£17000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Helpdesk Support Technician - 12 ...

The Jenrick Group: Maintenance Planner

£28000 - £32000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Maintenance...

The Jenrick Group: World Wide PLC Service Engineer

£30000 - £38000 per annum + pesion + holidays: The Jenrick Group: World Wide S...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there