Johnny Murtagh. When Irish eyes are smiling.

Johnny Murtagh. When Irish eyes are smiling.

johnny murtagh to be a trainer vg tipsMy dad loved his racing. He worshipped certain jockeys, none more so than the great Lester Piggott.

But, being a man of Dublin, he always had a keen eye for an Irish jockey. He knew the good from the bad.

He would have relished watching Johnny Murtagh in the saddle. His style, his humour, his honesty would have appealed to my father. As it appeals to me.

As a punter, all you want from a jockey is someone who will put your horse in the race. A jockey who will give it every opportunity to win the race.

Murtagh, who has announced his retirement in the saddle, did just that.

And, bets of all, he competed with a smile on his face. Yes, he took the job seriously, but he was always quick to flash a smile when winning. A genuine grin that lit up a racecourse. And he was so very modest when winning on a horse which, in the hands of another jockey, may have trailed in second or third.

His career has been an up and down one. Hard to believe of late, but there was a period when he was the forgotten man.

His battle with alcoholism may have had something to do with that. But he won, is still dry and has helped others with that problem since, including his great friend, the champion flat jockey Richard Hughes.

Several years separated his most successful times as a jockey.

Between 2000 and 2003 he netted over £10 million in prize money. And between 2008 and 2010 Murtagh bounced back to ride nineteen Group 1 winners. That was some achievement.

Even as recently as the last couple of seasons he has been riding some high profile winners and pleasing all those who love racing and appreciate the skills of a jockey.

Now he can concentrate on building up his own stables. He has already trained some good looking winners.

One thing is for sure. We’ve not seen the last of Johnny Murtagh in the winners’ enclosure.

Thanks for the memories Johnny.

Slainte!

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