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Johnny Murtagh

Born: 14 May 1970

Nationality: Irish

Irish Champion Jockey: 1995, 1996, 1998

Classic Wins: 19

Irish Derby: Sinndar (2000), Alamshar (2003), Fame and Glory (2009), Cape Blanco (2010)

Irish Oaks: Ebadiyla (1997), Winona (1998), Petrushka (2000), Peeping Fawn (2007), Moonstone (2008)

Irish 1000 Guineas: Again (2009)

Irish 2000 Guineas: Black Minnaloushe (2001), Henrythenavigator (2008), Mastercraftsman (2009)

Epsom Derby: Sinndar (2000), High Chaparral (2002), Motivator (2005)

Epsom Oaks: Dancing Rain (2011)

2000 Guineas: Rock of Gibraltar (2002), Henrythehavigator (2008)

Career History

Johnny Murtagh very nearly didn't become a jockey as he excelled in both football and boxing, but the diminutive Irishman certainly made the right choice switching to the saddle as he has become one of the most successful riders in recent times.

An under-14s boxing champion Murtagh was urged by friends and family to take the horse racing route and he eventually was persuaded and joined the Irish Apprentice Jockeys School in Co. Kildare. 

A natural on a horse Murtagh excelled in his teenage years and managed to bag his first success in 1987 aboard Chicago Style at Limerick.  Becoming Irish champion apprentice in 1989 was just a stepping stone for Murtagh and he was snapped up by legendary trainer John Oxx in 1992.

This partnership blossomed from the start and Murtagh continued his meteoric rise and eventually became champion jockey in 1995 and retained his title a year later.

1997 was to be a trademark year for Murtagh as he bagged his first Classic success with Ebadiyla, owned by the Aga Khan and trained by Oxx.  This trio were to become one of racing's most prolific over the next decade.

At the turn of the century Murtagh's Classic wins just took off and after doing the Irish and Epsom Derby double in 2000 with Sinndar, Murtagh continued to ride Classic winners.

In 2004, Murtagh decided to cut all ties with Oxx and ride as a freelance and it didn't stop him venturing into the winner's enclosure.  He bagged yet more English Derby success with the Michael Bell-trained Motivator in 2005, whilst in 2008 he was retained by the strong Coolmore stable.

This would prove to be the catalyst for more Classic success and his partnership with Aidan O'Brien saw him ride 19 Group One winners in the 2008 season and another 10 in 2009.

It came as a shock in 2010 that Murtagh decided to relinquish his retainer duties at Coolmore and ride freelance, but he is still seen riding all the Aga Khan horses.

Nevertheless, Murtagh continued to ride Group One winners and he bagged his first Epsom Oaks in 2011 with a masterful front-running ride aboard the William Haggas-trained Dancing Rain.

Other Leading Flat Jockeys

Ryan Moore

Kieren Fallon

Frankie Dettori

Richard Hughes


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