Paul Hanagan  Born on the 8th September 1980 and hailing from Cheshire, Paul Hanagan is a ex champion jockey of great acclaim in the flat racing world.

 

Having never been in the saddle until the late age of 14 and having had his eyes firmly fixed on a career on the green grass of a football field rather than a racetrack, Paul Hanagan was a graduate of the British Racing School after great encouragement from his father, Geoff Hanagan. Deemed ‘too small’ for professional football, he helped out as a weekend work experience stable hand for trainer Terry Caldwell, based in Warrington, which ultimately led to the pivotal moment when Hanagan realised that racing had gotten under his skin and into his blood.

Captivated by what he saw at Caldwell’s yard, Hanagan would get his first taste of being a jockey, being allowed to ride out at the age of 14 and begin training the British Racing School, graduating in 1997.

 

Breakthrough

 

Hanagan got his first taste of senior racing on Stone Beck 4 days shy of his 18th birthday , racing to a creditable 4th place under the stewardship of Malcolm Jefferson, who was better known for his work in National Hunt training. Jefferson knew his onions and he saw a promising flat jockey in Hanagan, guiding the young man to join Richard Fahey as an apprentice flat jockey just a year later.

Over the next four years, the apprentice jockey saw his promise turn into results, improving each season and gaining the title of Champion Apprentice in 2002. He did this by riding a highly impressive 87 winners, the 2nd most since the end of WWII, which included a win on Vintage Premium in the John Smith’s Cup.

 

Richard Fahey foretold a big future for Paul Hanagan and he wasn’t wrong. Having matured over the next few years, he won his first senior Champion Jockey title in 2010 with a brilliant 191 winners and then backing that up by winning it again in 2011, beating Silvestre De Sousa from Brazil on the very last day of the season.

After this great achievement, Hanagan took a brief sabbatical and stated that he need a break after all his efforts. He did return the next year, but he never again hit the heights of the 2010 and 2011 seasons. To this day, he attributes much of his success to Richard Fahey who he spent 14 years with and he will forever be included in the pantheon of great flat jockeys.

 

Lester Piggott  No list of racing greats would be complete without the inclusion of Lester Keith Piggott, the epitome of balance, strength and tactical awareness, the leading jockey in Britain for three decades and the winner of over 4,000 winners in Britain alone.

 

 

Born on November 5, 1935 in Wantage, Oxfordshire, from good racing stock, Piggott rode his first winner, The Chase, at Haydock on August 8, 1948 as a 12-year-old boy. A decade later, he was the most successful jockey in the country. He rode his first Derby winner, Never Say Die, on June 3, 1954 as an 18-year-old and, after 103 days’ suspension for his riding of the same horse in the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot, was appointed to succeed Sir Gordon Richards as first jockey to Noel Murless, the leading postwar trainer in Britain.

 

The appointment was to mark the start of a fruitful association with the Warren Place trainer, which was to last for the next twelve years and yield two more Derby winners, Crepello in 1957 and St. Paddy in 1960, and seven Classic winners in all. In fact, such was the success of the partnership that it came as a shock to the racing world when, having insisted on riding the 1966 Oaks winner, Valoris, for Vincent O’Brien instead of Murless’ Varinia, who finished third, Piggott announced he was now a freelance jockey.

 

He rode his first winner Derby for Vincent O’Brien, Sir Ivor, in 1968 and three more, Nijinksy in 1970, Roberto in 1972 and The Minstrel in 1977, before the pair decided to go their separate ways in the autumn of 1979.

 

Nijinsky, a son of the then untried stallion, Northern Dancer, bought by owner Charles W. Engelhard, Jr. on the recommendation of Vincent O’Brien, was probably Piggott’s most famous winning ride in the Derby. Having already won the 2,000 Guineas, under Piggott, Nijinksy went on to make history by becoming the first horse since Bahram, in 1935, to win the Triple Crown by beating Meadowville by a length in the St. Leger later the same season.

 

Following the retirement of Joe Mercer, Piggott joined Henry Cecil, at that time married to Noel Murless’ daughter, Julie, who had taken over at Warren Place in 1976. Further success followed, with Piggott winning the 1,000 Guineas on Fairy Footsteps in 1981, as well the Derby for first-season trainer Geoff Wragg on Teenoso in 1983.

 

However, after a public scandal over an unofficial contract, which Cecil had attempted to arrange with his owners, on Piggott’s behalf, but without the knowledge of the Jockey Club and a protracted rift between Piggott and one of Cecil’s leading owners, Daniel Wildenstein, it was announced, on June 5, 1984, that American Steve Cauthen would replace Piggott as stable jockey the following season.

 

At the end of the 1985 season, Piggott retired from race riding, at the age of 50, and became a trainer at Eve Lodge Stables, Newmarket. However, no sooner had he started his new career than questions about his financial affairs. An investigation into unpaid back taxes is believed to have cost him a knighthood in 1986 and, in 1987, was he found guilty of tax fraud and jailed for three years.

 

Having served a year and a day inside and stripped of the OBE that he had been awarded in 1975, he was released on parole in 1988. With the training licence at Eve Lodge in the hands of his then wife, Susan, Piggott kept himself fit by riding out regularly, but it was still a major surprise when he returned to race riding at Leicester on October 15, 1990. He rode a double at Chepstow the following day and eleven days later rode Royal Academy to win the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Belmont Park, New York for Vincent O’Brien. Justifiably, Piggott described Royal Academy, coincidentally a son of Nijinsky, as “the most satisfying winner I ever had.”

 

Piggott rode his final Classic winner, Rodrigo De Triano, for Peter Chapple-Hyam in the 2,000 Guineas in 1992, at the age of 56. Despite breaking his collarbone and two ribs in a fall in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Gulfstream Park, Florida, later the same year, he returned to race riding the following February and continued until 1994. Fittingly, he rode his last winner on Palacegate Jack at Haydock – the same Merseyside course on which he had ridden his first winner 46 years earlier – on October 5, 1994.

 

Famously taciturn, partially as a result of being severely hearing-impaired since birth, Piggott faced constant problems with his weight, starving his 5 ft 8in frame down to around 8st 2lbs for most of his of his career. His nickname, the “Long Fellow”, stemmed in part from his height, but also from his bespoke, short riding style, which hoisted his backside high into the air making him easy to pinpoint in any race.

 

When he retired for the second and final time, Piggott had ridden 4,493 winners in Britain, including 30 Classic winners, and been crowned Champion Jockey 11 times. In 2012, at the age of 77, Piggott moved to Geneva, Switzerland to start a new life with Lady Barbara Fitzgerald, 55, after leaving Susan, his wife of 52 years. Piggott’s 19-year-old son, Jamie, the product of a 16-year affair with former assistant, Anna Ludlow, rode in his first professional race at Killarney on July 18, 2013, so the name “Piggott” is likely to appear on British racecards for a good while yet.

Oisin Murphy  Introduction

 

A name with a huge amount of growth and development still to come, the wonderful Oisin Murphy is one of the jockeys to look out for on the circuit. With a fantastic blog as well as a range of exciting race successes of his own, Murphy has become a name well worth paying attention to and looking out for as a commentator on the sport as well as one of the most promising young jockeys on the circuit.

 

A true rising star of the racing world, he’s joined up with various publications to help offer modern commentary on the sport as well as offer a more enjoyable insight into the sport that we all love.

 

Career Summary

 

Already a retained rider for the elite Qatar Racing, Murphy has made a rapid start to his career as a jockey. With plenty more Series races to come, too, he’ll be likely to become a name well worth remembering for any fans of the sport. Despite only starting out in 2013 at the tender age of 18, he’s made an instant impact on the sport. By riding four winners at the prestigious Ayr Gold Cup in 2013, including the feature race he made the world sit up and take notice of a young star on the rise.

 

2013 seen him take 13 winners in total across the Australian racing scene, too. The nephew of the famous Jim Culloty, Murphy was crowned the champion apprentice in 2014, with a whopping 91 winners.

 

His first Series win came in the QIPCO British Champions Series aboard Hot Streak. Still young and learning, it’s sure that more is to come for this young superstar.

 

Achievements & Highlights

 

Major Wins – Champion Apprentice (2014)

 

Associations – Jim Culloty, Qatar Racing.

 

Earnings – £500k+

 

 

Daryl Jacob  Introduction

 

Still building is career today is Daryl Jacob, an Irish jockey who rides as the number one for Paul Nicholls. The heir to the throne or Ruby Walsh, Jacob took over when Walsh moved on and became an impressive part of a growing list of achievements in his own fledgling career. With several landmark wins that already help to set aside a growing career from the rest of the pack, there’s little doubt that Daryl Jacob has a long lasting and highly successful career ahead of him in the sport.

 

Career Summary

 

Rising to prominence for most people with his 2011 win at Triumph Hurdle in the Cheltenham Festival, Jacob quickly became a name worth remembering for any jockey. This was his first breakout moment after taking over from Walsh as the top boy in the Nicholls yard. In 2014, he took another win at the Cheltenham festival when he rode Lac Fontana in the Vincent O’Brien County Handicap Hurdle, winning on the last day of the festival.

 

Sadly, he broke his leg, knee and elbow after his ride, Port Melon, crashed into the railing and put him in serious trouble. Now recovering and come back to prominence, the future looks extremely bright for a fun and talented young jockey.

 

Achievements & Highlights

 

Probably the biggest success of his career so far comes at the 2012 Grand National, when he won on top of Neptune Collonges. With hopefully more to come, it was a major and landmark win for the team, as they beat second-placed Sunnyhillboy to win what is regarded as the closest ever finish in the Grand National history.

 

That’s some going for someone so young and with so much to go in a career that could yet have even more twists and turns to celebrate!

 

Major Wins – 2011 JCB Triumph Hurdle, 2012 Aintree Grand National, 2014 County Hurdle.

 

Associations – Paul Nicholls, Ruby Walsh. Neptune Collonges, Zarkander, Lac Fontana, Port Melon.

 

Earnings – £4.7m total earnings place.