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‘Normandy’ ready for battle

Monday, February 12, 2018

Normandy Blue is on a winning mark in the 3-y-o eight-runner 3-y-o handicap over ten furlongs of Wolverhampton tapeta tonight; trained by Richard ‘winning machine’ Fahey, mount of stable jockey, Paul ‘dual champion’ Hanagan, a combination hungry for mega success this year.

Following two successive championships Hanagan was wooed away from Malton with ,the job at Newmarket where Paul was based and became number one for prolific champion owner, Hamdan Al Maktoum.

A colossal retainer meant moving his whole family to Cambridgeshire and, not suprisingly, Hanagan was soon enjoying the fruits of group one successes in the famous blue and white colours.

Unfortunately in that situation there were (and still are!) too many chiefs and not enough Indians; towards the end of 2016 Hanagan fell out of favour, Jim Crowley was head-hunted, Paul bit the bullet, contacted Fahey and by the Spring of last year was back, among his roots!

Others had a firm grip on rides at the base of Fahey who was quoted as saying there were ‘no guarantees’ for the man he single-handedly guided to the title by concentrating on the Northern scene; one took that reported quote with a pinch of salt!

In no time at all Hanagan was back in the fold, happy as a sandboy and delighting us all with his fierce determination and uncanny skills; how often do you see him beaten in a finish?

Fahey absolutely loves the guy and so do punters; Paul reminds me so much of the late, great, eleven-times champion jockey, Pat Eddery!

Neither could tell the difference between a form-book and Windson Churchill’s biography but tell ‘em what you require in the paddock and instructions would be carried out to the letter.

They could win by short-heads!

When analysing all-weather races I’m mindful of the draw, jockeys, surfaces, requirements and possibilities; Normandy Blue certainly ticks enough boxes and was given a ‘sighter’ at Kempton eighteen days ago following a three months absence.


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