Dubai: Jockey Paul Hanagan is hoping that his new role as retained jockey to Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance, will help take his career to a higher level.
The two-time British Champion, who has ridden around the world, is scheduled to have his first rides of the season for his new boss at Jebel Ali Racecourse on Friday.
Hanagan, 31, also acknowledged that winning championships was no longer a priority and that he was focused on winning races of a higher quality.
“Now I’m No. 1 jockey to Shaikh Hamdan and he comes first before anybody and it would be very hard to go for the championship now,” the jockey said in an ERA press release.
“I think it was the name ‘Shaikh Hamdan’ that really swung me. It’s not the kind of chance you turn down, to be part of that history. You look at Shaikh Hamdan and his horses and the races he has won and the trainers who work for him and I knew that this was my chance to take it to the next level.”
Hanagan, rode his first pattern race winner for Shaikh Hamdan in July when steering Alhebayeb to victory in the Group 2 July Stakes at Newmarket.
Hanagan is no stranger to the UAE having visited the country in 2000 before he was based with former Blue Stables boss Paddy Rudkin three years later.
“I know Dubai as I’ve been in and out over the last few seasons, but it’s changed a lot since 2003, which is the last time I spent any length of time here,” he said.
Hanagan took over from Richard Hills in March last year.