Paul Hanagan: Aiming to strike at Royal Ascot

Growl jumped straight into Group Three company at York after triumphing in his maiden race at the start of his career and could give me a chance of a winner on the final day of Royal Ascot.

Jockey Paul Hanagan, right, and trainer Richard Fahey

He certainly knows how to run well at the Berkshire course after being runner-up in the sprint division of the QIPCO-supported British Champions Series last autumn.

The Diamond Jubilee Stakes at 4.20pm is a hot race, but Richard Fahey’s sprinter is in good form.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

I round off the meeting in the Wokingham Stakes, the heritage handicap at 5pm, on board Eastern Impact. I really like this horse; he’s a bit of a legend at Musley Bank and he always runs a decent race.

Paul Hanagan

It was a tough opening three days at Ascot for myself, but I was absolutely thrilled for Richard when the Godolphin-owned Ribchester landed the Group One Queen Anne Stakes, the opener on Tuesday. That was a massive result for the yard.

Ascot was also buzzing the same afternoon after the performance of American superstar Lady Aurelia in the King’s Stand Stakes.

Her trainer, Wesley Ward, has set the Coolmore Nunthorpe on Friday, August 25 as her next target, so York racegoers can see her live.

I had a bit of a frustrating time over the two days of York’s June meeting as well, with a few near misses.

Paul Hanagan

York, though, is a bit like Ascot; it’s just so competitive. Of course that makes it very exciting for spectators of whom there were not far short of 40,000 last weekend.

One for the notebook is Sosian. The filly was defeated by just a short head in the Coopers Marquees British EBF Novice Stakes. She still ran green as she did on her debut, but the experience of running at York will stand her in good stead.

The Macmillan Charity Raceday last week was a real success, with a record amount of over £500,000 being raised for the good causes.

The Weighing Room was proud to play its part through the donation of riding fees.

Congratulations to Belinda Keighley on winning the ‘Best Western Hotels Macmillan Ride of Their Lives’ and to her fellow nine competitors and their supporters on the fabulous fund-raising.

After a couple of days off tomorrow and on Monday, I’ll be back in the saddle and looking ahead to a brand new race-day at York on Saturday with another huge crowd anticipated and the extra entertainment of a post-racing concert by singer Olly Murs.

I have never shared a Weighing Room with champion jump jockey Richard Johnson and he looks set to ride in the Jump Jockeys Nunthorpe backed by Sunbets.

Staged over the flying five furlongs, the jump jockeys will never have gone so fast but I bet they will enjoy the top-class facilities at York. It will be fun but competitive.

If you want to see it live then see if you can snap up the last few tickets online or just plan to bring a picnic to course enclosure.

The next racing at York is ‘Summer Music Saturday’ a week today when Olly Murs will be in concert after the races. Course enclosure admission will be available on the day. Find out more about York at