The two-time British Champion Jockey, Paul Hanagan, made a dream start to his UAE career as Sheikh Hamdan's first rider when winning the Jebel Ali feature race recently.
Hanagan partnered Haatheq to an easy victory in the 1,600m Conditions contest.
Appointed first jockey for the owner after the retirement of Richard Hills on Dubai World Cup night 2012, Hanagan has enjoyed a successful season in Europe for his new employer and on Friday was riding for the first time locally in his new capacity.
Haatheq was far too good for his six rivals in a race also sponsored by Sheikh Hamdan through his Shadwell breeding organisation. Never far off the pace, the pair eased to the front about 500m out before powering clear to win in style.
“He had the best form of the seven runners and we were very hopeful coming into the race,” said Hanagan whose mount won by no less than nine lengths. “He was a little bit keen early on but travelled really strongly and quickened when I asked him. I did not realise just how far in front we were and that was impressive and the perfect start to my stint in the UAE where I will be now until after Dubai World Cup night.
“I had a great spell here with Paddy Rudkin some years ago and it is great to be back.”
Champion Trainer Ali Rashid Al Raihe saddled Haatheq and later completed a double when Ana Emirati and Harry Bentley landed the concluding 1,000m handicap. Bentley said: “He did it nicely and I am really grateful to the owner, Abdulla bin Ahmed Al Sheikh for the chance to ride his horses.”
Al Raihe was not the only trainer in double form with Satish Seemar and Musabah Al Muhairi also saddling a brace. Seemar made the best possible start to the afternoon with Farrier and stable jockey Richard Mullen recording an impressive victory in the opening 1,800m handicap.
Mullen then completed their double aboard Gold Pearl who was winning a 1,400m handicap at the second successive Jebel Ali meeting.
Seemar said: “They are two improving horses and hopefully have more to offer. We will be patient with Farrier and give him time between races as he is a big horse with plenty of scope.
“Gold Pearl could be aimed at the prep for the Jebel Ali Mile.” Stable jockey Wayne Smith was aboard both winners trained by Al Muhairi with Interpret, half-brother to 2007 Dubai World Cup winner Invasor, running out the easy winner of a 1600m maiden at a meeting where the combined winning distances were just over 33 lengths!
The pair later combined with Firestreak to win a 1,200m handicap and Smith said: “As we keep saying we were struggling early on last season but our horses are much further forward this campaign and continue to run well.
“Firestreak really stuck his neck out close home and was game but Interpret could be anything. He has a lot to live up to on pedigree but who knows – he is potentially a nice horse as he is still green and learning about the game.”