Paul Hanagan rode for trainer Richard Fahey for 14 years, and continues to do so regularly when his current retainer, Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, does not require him. Hamilton has been number two at Fahey’s stable almost since he joined as an apprentice in 2002.
On Saturday, Fahey saddles Garswood, who will be his first runner in the 2000 Guineas, and has said that Hamilton will ride him come what may. The horse and jockey struck up a great relationship last season, which saw them gain black type by winning the Listed Shadwell Stud Harry Rosebery Stakes at Ayr. They proved well in tune with each other a fortnight ago coming home first in the European Free Handicap at Newmarket.
Over the weekend Fahy made his jockey planes clear. He said, “Tony rides. I would find it very difficult to take him off. He’s got great belief in the horse and has earned the ride.”
That last win was over seven furlongs, rather than the mile of the Guineas, but Hamilton thinks Garswood will take the longer distance in his stride. He said, “I have big belief in this horse and I think he wants another furlong. He is very relaxed in all his work at home and would be better in a better race as well, where he can get a lead for as long as he can. He is the best horse I’ve ever ridden – and I rode Wootton Bassett and Mayson (though not in their Group 1 successes). He gives you an unbelievable feeling at home, so hopefully he will run well.”
Fahey also things very highly of Garswood, and says he has “probably never had a horse like this.” The stable and jockey will go to Newmarket in good heart; Hamilton has ridden eight of the stable’s 20 winners so far this month. Of course, this year, the Guineas takes place in May, and they’ll likely have another couple under their belt by then. Whether they have or not, victory for Garswood, unlikely though it is, would be a career highlight for both trainer and jockey.