Richard Fahey and Paul Hanagan snatch York Racecourse trainer and jockey titles (From Gazette & Herald)
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Richard Fahey and Paul Hanagan snatch York Racecourse trainer and jockey titles
“LAZARUS rose from the dead and so have we.”
That was Richard Fahey’s reaction following a superb final day comeback at York Racecourse which saw him claim his seventh successive top trainer title on Knavesmire.
The Malton handler fired in a treble and it was his final victory, in the last race of the 2012 season, that saw him pip Great Habton’s Tim Easterby to the coveted gong.
Fahey’s tally of nine across the campaign, which began in May, tied with his North Yorkshire colleague but he won the award because he had more runners-up throughout the year.
First tasting York glory with Chapter Seven (3-1), Fahey then combined with former stable jockey Paul Hanagan to win with Mystery Bet (5-2).
But it was Bridle Belle (11-2), in the closing Coldstream Guards Association Cup, who saw him crowned the King of York once more.
Those two latter successes, along with a winner aboard the John Gosden-trained Mashaari, were also enough for the Hanagan to rack up his own treble and take the top jockey’s prize for the fourth year running.
The dual-winning champion jockey enjoyed ten victories over the season, two more than Kieren Fallon and William Buick.
A delighted Fahey said: “I just can’t believe it. It’s fantastic. It is something that we try for but this year we let it slip a bit.
“We went for winners down south and we had winners at Chester that we might have had here. I suppose I have been taking it for granted. It has been tough to win.”
Hanagan, who now spends much of his time in Newmarket as retained rider to Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, was equally thrilled adding: “I am absolutely delighted to be top jockey at York – especially because I have moved down south.”
For much of the final day, it looked like the title would go Easterby’s way after he edged ahead in the standings when Royal Rascal (3-1) took the Listed coral.co.uk Rockingham Stakes.
The two-year-old won for the third time at York this year, this time by a length and three-quarters over Odooj, after coming from off the pace a couple of furlongs from home under David Allan.
Easterby said: “She’s a very good filly and she wasn’t right at Ayr (last time out). She just didn’t fire for some reason.
“She’s got a great record here and it loves it at York.”
Fahey earlier served notice of his intentions with Chapter Seven in the Coral Backing Macmillan Cancer Support Stakes, but he had needed all his powers of persuasion to convince Terry Holdcroft to run the horse.
The three-year-old narrowly beat Lahaag by a head in a photo-finish – ending the owner’s 38 year wait for a York winner - and leaving Fahey pleased he had won the argument.
“I’m delighted for Terry because he hates the place,” he said. “He never has any luck here and I had to talk him into running.
“I told him he would win so I am delighted for him. Chapter Seven loves soft ground will go to the Horses in Training Sales now and he will make a right few quid. “ Fahey then struck when Mystery Bet strolled to the line in the Coral Maiden Stakes. “She stays well and she is a big filly,” he added. “She has done well to win as a two-year-old.”
Hanagan clinched his jockeys’ crown when Mashaari (9-2) pipped the Cheltenham Festival-winning Cape Tribulation by the narrowest of margins in the Coral Backing Changing Faces Stakes.
It was then only a question of whether Fahey’s former right hand man could deliver for his old boss in the last race on the card.
At least twice in the final furlong Bridle Belle looked a beaten horse as Crown Counsel surged on, but the four-year-old has got guts and edged home by half a length to give Fahey the greatest of final York days.