Johnny Murtagh

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Johnny Murtagh
Dancing Rain at Epsom Oaks in 2011.jpg
Johnny Murtagh after winning the Epsom Oaks on Dancing Rain
Occupation Jockey / trainer
Born 14 May 1970
Navan, County Meath, Ireland
Significant horses
Sinndar, Kalanisi, Choisir, Soviet Song, Henrythenavigator, Yeats, Fame And Glory, Dancing Rain

Johnny Murtagh (born May 14, 1970) is an Irish flat racing jockey and trainer from Bohermeen, Navan, County Meath. He has won many of the major flat races in Europe, including all the Irish Classics, all the Group 1 Races at Royal Ascot, the Epsom Derby, the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes[1] [2][3] and Europe's biggest race the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. He has also been Irish flat racing Champion Jockey five times.[4]


Early career[edit]

Murtagh was a keen amateur boxer as a young boy and was once Irish boy's under-14 boxing champion.[4] He also came close to joining Blackburn Rovers’ youth football team.[4]

In an RTE radio interview, Johnny stated that at a fight one evening in his native County Meath, a spectator advised his mother that Johnny would make a good jockey, citing his small size, weight, good balance, sense of rhythm, and courage.[citation needed] His mother wrote to the Racing Academy and Centre of Education (RACE) in County Kildare, a school for apprentice jockeys, and got a two-week trial for her son. After persuasion by friends, he joined. He was one of 26 successful candidates who progressed onto the RACE 10 month course.

In the same RTÉ interview, Johnny stated that he knew riding was for him as soon as he stepped into the world of horses.[citation needed] From the trial, he got on the ten-month training course, and within a year, he was apprenticed to John Oxx, one of Ireland’s leading trainers.

Senior jockey[edit]

Murtagh rode his first winner, Chicago Style, at Limerick in 1987.[4]

He became stable jockey to Oxx in 1992, and from then until his departure in 2003, rode 18 Group One winners for the Oxx's leading owner, the Aga Khan. [1][2][3][5][6]

For Oxx, Murtagh rode Sinndar to win the Epsom Derby and Irish Derby, as well as the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in 2000.[7][8] He won the Derby again on the Michael Bell trained Motivator.[9] Johnny was also the regular jockey for talented filly Soviet Song. In 2004, the partnership won two Group 1 races, including the Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood. Here she beat a strong field of colts, including the 2,000 Guineas winner Haafhd.

From 2008 to 2010, he was stable jockey for Coolmore. In 2008, he rode 19 Group One winners in a single season, and followed it up in 2009 with another 10, including Irish Derby, QEII Stakes, Sussex Stakes, Ascot Gold Cup, St. James's Palace Stakes and an Irish 1,000 and 2,000 Guineas double.

He then resigned his post as stable jockey to Coolmore and was engaged by the Aga Khan again. This means he is back riding for John Oxx who trains 90 of the Aga Khan's horses, and additionally for Mick Halford who trains 30.

"I am thrilled to be renewing my association with His Highness' horses in Ireland," Murtagh said in a statement. We have shared some fantastic moments over the years and I have always enjoyed riding in the green and red colours. This will also give me an opportunity to ride for John Oxx again. I started off riding for Mr Oxx and it has always been a pleasure to be part of his Currabeg team."[citation needed]

He announced his retirement on the 25th of February, 2014, citing that it was to concentrate on his training career.[10]

Personal life[edit]

He is married to Orla, daughter of famous Tipperary hurler Michael "Babs" Keating, and has five children.Caroline, Charles, Lauren, Grace and Tom. Caroline is finished secondary school. Charles is in secondary school at Clongowes Wood College. Lauren is a boarder in The Ursuline Secondary School Thurles. Tom and Grace are still in primary school.

Murtagh's motto is "The river doesn’t need pushing" - you don’t need to rush things, just take it easy, let things flow, things are happening for your greater benefit.[citation needed]

Major Wins[edit]

Republic of Ireland Ireland


Canada Canada


France France


Germany Germany


United Kingdom Great Britain


Hong Kong Hong Kong


United Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates


United States United States


Year-end charts in the United States[edit]

Chart (2000–present) Peak
position
National Earnings List for Jockeys 2000 83
National Earnings List for Jockeys 2008 85

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Marmalade secures King George win". BBC Sport. 26 July 2008. Retrieved 22 April 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Dylan Thomas wins King George". BBC Sport. 28 July 2007. Retrieved 22 April 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "Alamshar's Diamond success". BBC Sport. 26 July 2003. Retrieved 22 April 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d "People in Racing: Johnny Murtagh". British Horseracing Authority. Retrieved 20 April 2013. 
  5. ^ "Rock wins 2,000 Guineas". BBC Sport. 4 May 2002. Retrieved 22 April 2013. 
  6. ^ "High Chapparal wins Derby". BBC Sport. 8 June 2002. Retrieved 22 April 2013. 
  7. ^ "Sinndar wins Derby classic". BBC Sport. 10 June 2000. Retrieved 22 April 2013. 
  8. ^ "Sinndar stuns Montjeu to win Arc". BBC Sport. 1 October 2000. Retrieved 22 April 2013. 
  9. ^ "Motivator powers to Derby victory". BBC Sport. 4 June 2005. Retrieved 22 April 2013. 
  10. ^ BBC Sport: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/live/25928816