Beverley preview: Paul Hanagan relishing return after lengthy absence

Tue 18 Aug 2020

Paul Hanagan is looking forward to returning from a lengthy absence with two rides at Beverley on Tuesday.

The two-time champion Flat jockey has been sidelined since breaking his back in a fall at Newcastle in February.

He has been riding out for the last few weeks, and is relishing the prospect of a return to competitive action on the eve of the Ebor Festival at York.

“I wasn’t sure if it would be this week or next week, but it was always my aim to get back for the Ebor meeting if I could,” said Hanagan. “I’m delighted I’ve stuck to my guns, and I’ve managed to do it.

“It probably sounds a strange thing to say, but I honestly don’t think I’ve ever been fitter or stronger. I’ve been going to Jack Berry House every single day since the middle of June, which has been fantastic.

“I know there’s no substitute for race fitness, but I don’t think I could be any fitter than I am right now.”

Hanagan makes his comeback aboard Richard Fahey’s May She Shine in the Lund Nursery Handicap, before partnering Bobby Shaft for his long-time boss in the Churchill Tyres A Great British Brand Handicap.

“I can’t wait to get back,” he added. “There was a time when I wondered if I’d ever be race riding again, so I’m really looking forward to it.

“I haven’t been racing since the lockdown, so it is going to be strange – especially going to such a big meeting like the Ebor meeting.

“But it is what it is – at least we’re able to go racing, that’s the main thing.”

Hanagan, whose major victories include Taghrooda’s 2014 Oaks and King George double for Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, was champion jockey in 2010 and 2011.

He is just 24 winners short of 2,000.

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