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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£28500 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers unique corp...

Recruitment Genius: Technical Product Support Specialists

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This world leader in the design...

Recruitment Genius: Field Engineer

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company has 30 years of ex...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Account Manager

£27000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing cloud based I...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat