And reading the autobiography of Richard Hughes, it became clear to me that Murtagh is one of the good guys of racing away from a racecourse. Having once been an alcoholic himself, Johnny helped his friend Hughes as he conquered his own addiction to booze.
Now Murtagh has confirmed that, as well as continuing to be a jockey, he also has a trainers licence.
He has effectively been training unofficially for a while. But now it’s all above board.
He told the Irish Times: “I finished the course today and the Turf Club has granted me a licence to train. I’m delighted to get it sorted and I think it is an added bonus that I will be able to train and ride the horses.
“I accept that me training might make it difficult for some people to use my services on their horses but I am still available to whoever wants me, and that includes internationally,” he said.
Sheikh Mohammed has bought the Murtagh trained Fort Knox, which is being targeted at next weekend’s Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh.
“I think starting out under my own name, with a Sheikh Mohammed owned horse, in a classic, will be a good way to begin. Hopefully he will run well.”
Those of us who live long enough can look forward to seeing the likes of Murtagh and Hughes vying to train Group 1 winners.
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