Hanagan set to partner Taghrooda
Trainer William Haggas expects Paul Hanagan to ride Taghrooda in Saturday’s King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot.
Hamdan Al Maktoum has elected to let both Taghrooda and Mukhadram run in the Ascot Group 1, leaving Hanagan, his retained jockey. with a big decision to make regarding his choice of ride.
Hanagan was aboard Taghrooda when she won the Investec Oaks last month, while he guided Mukhadram to victory in the Coral-Eclipse Stakes, but Haggas believes he will have to find a new jockey for his five-year-old.
“As far as I am concerned, he is going for the King George. I’ve heard no different and I have been training him for the race,” Haggas told the Times.
“I’d be staggered if Paul didn’t ride Taghrooda. I don’t think he could possibly get off an Oaks winner, especially with her weight allowance.
“It was exactly the same situation when we went for the King George with Shaamit, after he’d won the Derby in 1996. Michael Hills got off our horse to ride Pentire. He said it was the worst decision he ever had to make but he was right – Pentire won and we were only third.
“We’d always felt he (Mukhadram) was a Group One horse and I was disappointed for him (when second in the Dubai World Cup). That’s why the Eclipse was so special. I planned to come on for the King George straight away, because this is a horse that is better for racing.
“He’s never run beyond ten furlongs, but he’s not a keen or silly horse and he might be even better for the trip.
“Angus Gold (racing manager to Sheikh Hamdan) came to see me last week and told me that plans for Taghrooda had changed. He didn’t say it altered my plans, though, and I’m hoping we will still run.
“I never like taking on another of Sheikh Hamdan’s in ordinary fare but a Group One is different.”
Meanwhile a dozen horses have been declared for the feature event with Eagle Top supplemented at a cost of £75,000. John Gosden could be triple-handed with Eagle Top joining Taghrooda and Romsdal in the field.
Telescope heads the betting for Michael Stoute but he is unlikely to have it all his own way with Aidan O’Brien set to saddle Magician and likely pacemaker Hall of Mirrors.
Noble Mission could take his chance for Lady Cecil, while Jim Bolger could saddle Trading Leather and Leitir Mor.
Flintshere and Brown Panther complete the possible field.