Hanagan to reunite with Fahey in return to Yorkshire
Paul Hanagan on Monday revealed he is in the process of moving back to the northern base from which he won the jockeys' championship in 2010 and 2011 and will reunite with what is numerically Britain's most powerful yard by riding for Richard Fahey in 2017.
Hanagan has not ruled out a bid to regain the title but expects his role within the Yorkshire-based Fahey team, which in 2016 sent out over 300 more runners than its nearest rivals, to be different to when he was the stable's outright number one.
Hanagan took a break from the saddle after losing the job as Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum's rider at the end of the 2016 season to champion jockey Jim Crowley and has not ridden since November.
He used the time to recharge his batteries and make perhaps the most important decision of his career and has settled on a return to the north – a move he hopes to have completed by February 1 as that is when he intends to return to race-riding.
"It's the first break I've had in a long time," Hanagan said. "It was needed and I feel so much better for it. Now I'm just in the process of moving back up north so I've had a lot to sort out as well with relocating."
On the prospect of rejoining his former boss, he added: "It's really exciting, this is home so I'm delighted to be back up north. We rented the house out when we left for Newmarket so we're just in the process of getting it all sorted and moving back into there. It was always the plan to come back at some point, maybe not as soon as this, but I'm just very happy to be back with Richard."
Hanagan and Fahey
Hanagan rode seven Group 1 winners in his five-year stint for Sheikh Hamdan and has fond memories of his time in the famous royal blue silks with white epaulettes and blue and white striped cap.
"I have no regrets whatsoever, I think it was a huge success," he said. "I rode a filly [Taghrooda] as good as I think anyone's seen in a long time. I won my first Classic and a King George, rode Europe's champion sprinter to three Group 1s in a season and won an Eclipse. They are special days I'll never forget."
Hanagan is the 9-2 second favourite for the title behind 6-4 shot Silvestre de Sousa, but it may be a year too soon for the 36-year-old as first and foremost he needs to earn back the number one job he will start 2017 by sharing with Tony Hamilton, the one-time understudy who replaced Hanagan when he made the switch to Newmarket.
"I've been away for quite a while and I'd never expect to have the position I had before I left," explained Hanagan. "I'm back riding out and it's just nice to be part of a very special team.
"Tony's a very good jockey and he's done an exceptional job while I've not been there, so I expect things will be more even between us than before I left."
On the bid for a third title, he added: "If I get a decent start we'll see how it goes and if it happens it happens, but the main thing for me is just getting back, get riding winners and just enjoying it.
"I started riding up here when I was 17, so it's always been home. I know all of the tracks like the back of my hand so it's nice to get back here and I'm really looking forward to it."