Hanagan out in front in jockeys' championship
Paul Hanagan reclaimed the outright lead at the top of the jockeys' championship with a typically power-packed ride on Premier Clarets in the Spindrifter Conditions Stakes at Pontefract.
The likeable 29-year-old has enjoyed a tremendous first half of the season as stable jockey to Richard Fahey and the pair teamed up to take the feature race at the sun-drenched West Yorkshire venue.
At the start of the day Hanagan was level on 68 wins with current champion Ryan Moore, who is currently suspended, with Richard Hughes on 66.
Having ridden his second Royal Ascot winner a short while ago on Marine Commando, Hanagan is now beginning to get recognition south of Wetherby and will be hoping to take full advantage of Moore's absence as he shot straight up to Musselburgh after his victory.
Kevin Ryan's previously unbeaten Drawing Board made a bold bid from the front, but Hanagan got the 10-11 favourite up close home to win by a neck.
“He was very gutsy for me because he doesn't want the ground that quick,” said Hanagan.
“It's nice to be back top of the table again.”
Fahey's assistant Robin O'Ryan added: “Where he'll go next will be ground dependent, the uphill finish helped him, but we've not got a specific target in mind.”
Alan Tattersall, one of the owners involved in The Matthewman Partnership, added: “Paul was the difference there, if he wasn't on it I'd have been a bit worried.
“There are not many jockeys better in a finish than him at the moment.”
Andy Price saddled his first winner of the season when Pretty Bonnie made all in the EBF Park Suite Fillies' Handicap in the hands of Natalia Gemelova.
It was a case of ladies first and second as Pretty Bonnie (5-1) was forced to hold off the late lunge of Kirsty Milczarek on Misplaced Fortune, who just failed to reel in the leader by a head.
Price said: “That's the first time she's made the running but it wasn't the plan, it was just how it turned out.
“She always finds plenty for pressure and deserved that as she hadn't won for over a year.
“There's a fillies' race at Ascot over seven furlongs a week on Saturday, we'll have a look at that now.”
However, Milczarek was given a two-day ban (July 12-13) for excessive use of the whip.
Another female to shine was Louise Allan on impressive winner Haljaferia in the Pontefract Ladies' Handicap for Lady Amateur Riders. Sent off as the 5-2 favourite, the result never looked in doubt as she came home nine lengths clear for David Elsworth.
“I think I might have won by too far, I might be getting told off!” said Allan. “He was always going very well. I love this horse, I ride him out every day.”
Nurai landed some hefty bets in the Alfie Mills — A Lifetime In Racing Fillies' Handicap. Paul d'Arcy's mare was backed at 4-1 in the morning and won at 9-4.