Newmarket // A new era was announced at Newmarket yesterday as Paul Hanagan rode out his first winner of a Group race as the retained rider for Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid when Alhebayeb took the July Stakes.
Watched by Willie Carson and Richard Hills, the two previous incumbents of the position as first rider, Hanagan rousted the son of Dark Angel to a neck victory over Lewisham.
Ahern, owned by Qatar Racing Ltd, came home third to complete the top three.
"I am delighted at the win," Hanagan said.
"It is what it is all about and I hope we will go from strength to strength.
"Sheikh Hamdan is a great man for patience and there is no rush, which gives us time to do our job and try to get things right on the day."
Alhebayeb is one of ten horses that Sheikh Hamdan has placed with Richard Hannon, the first year that last season's champion trainer has handled horses for the Sheikh.
Jalaa, Rayaheen and The Taj have already carried the Minister of Finance's famous blue and white silks into the winners' enclosure and Richard Hannon junior, assistant to his father, was looking forward to adding to the tally.
"He is our first Group winner for Sheikh Hamdan and I am very pleased for him," Hannon said.
"It is our first year training for him and we have another four or five horses of his left to run. He is probably the best of them all."
Alhebayeb, who was second in the Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot last month, now has the Middle Park Stakes and the Dewhurst Stakes, both run on October 13, in his sights.
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