Racing Post logo
Search icon
Menu icon
Menu icon
  • MoreChevron down
InterviewThe Big Read

Paul Hanagan: 'I went into yards when I got the Hamdan job and could tell right away they didn't want me'

The recently retired rider reflects on his journey to the top of the tree with racing writer of the year Peter Thomas

author image
Peter ThomasRacing Writer of the Year
Paul Hanagan at home in Malton 25.8.23 Pic: Edward Whitaker
Paul Hanagan: the modest northern lad who made it to the big timeCredit: Edward Whitaker (

He made his name as a down-to-earth northern lad who found himself a happy northern niche, rode a massive number of northern winners, became only the third northern jockey to win the championship in more than a century and the only one ever to win it twice. Northern is the recurring theme, in case you hadn't noticed.

He still feels uneasy when he crosses the Trent and has waking nightmares about having to live in London. He's a Warrington lad, an adopted son of North Yorkshire, and with Richard Fahey in Malton he formed a lasting alliance that dominated in the north and raided the south when the pickings were at their richest.

Odd, then, that when Paul Hanagan is asked to name the single proudest achievement in his 26-year riding career, he plumps not for an Ayr Gold Cup on Fonthill Road or a Northumberland Plate with Mirjan, not for his first Group 1 on Fahey's Wootton Bassett in Paris or that smash-and-grab in the July Cup with Mayson, but for the simple act of stepping gingerly out of his natural environment and taking on the most daunting challenge of his life.

Read the full story

Read award-winning journalism from the best writers in racing, with exclusive news, interviews, columns, investigations, stable tours and subscriber-only emails.

Subscribe to unlock
  • Racing Post digital newspaper (worth over £100 per month)
  • Award-winning journalism from the best writers in racing
  • Expert tips from the likes of Tom Segal and Paul Kealy
  • Replays and results analysis from all UK and Irish racecourses
  • Form study tools including the Pro Card and Horse Tracker
  • Extensive archive of statistics covering horses, trainers, jockeys, owners, pedigree and sales data

Already a subscriber?Log in

Published on 2 September 2023Last updated 18:00, 2 September 2023