Johnny Murtagh

Kavanagh: 'I Agree With Johnny – We Can't Rest On Our Laurels With Prize-Money'

Brian Kavanagh has said that he agrees completely with Johnny Murtagh's assertion that Ireland should not be "resting on its laurels" when it comes to prize-money while Irish Racehorse Trainers Association [IRTA] chief Ryan McElligott expressed a wish that the Curragh boss's decision to up the minimum prize fund at the track to €20,000 could stir up similar change among other racecourses.  Leopardstown, Ireland's only other Group 1 Flat track, has followed the Curragh's lead in raising its basement prize-money levels to €15,000. However, leading trainers Joseph O'Brien and Ado...

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'We Need To Stop Telling Ourselves How Great We Are – Prize-Money Isn't Good Enough'

Leading trainer Johnny Murtagh has identified the leading juvenile prospects that he is looking forward to unleashing this season but spoke out about the increased levels of frustration that trainers are facing when it comes to hanging on to their big-name stars due to what he describes as stagnant levels of prize-money in Ireland.  The Group 1-winning handler has called on Horse Racing Ireland, who announced a €1.4 million increase to prize-money [to €69.4 million] for 2024 in the latest budget, not to rest on its laurels.  Murtagh, who runs...

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'He Could Be What The Market Is Looking For,' – Heavyweights Weigh In On Stallion Trail

Whether you're a trainer, a pre-trainer, a breeder or just a general racing nut, it seems as though the Irish Stallion Trail was the place to be on Friday and Saturday. But how much can be gleaned from two days of stallion parades? Quite a lot, actually.  Relationships have been forged and business has been done on the Trail and luminaries of the industry Johnny Murtagh, Dick Brabazon, Guillaume Vitse and Craig McCracken were left singing the praises of Irish Thoroughbred Marketing [ITM] for what proved to be another stellar...

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RACE In Disarray After 21 Job Losses And Jockeys' Course Scrapped

The Racing Academy and Centre of Education (RACE), which has produced luminaries of the saddle like Johnny Murtagh, Seamie Heffernan, Chris Hayes and Shane Foley, has been forced to cull two thirds of its workforce in order to save the institution's future. A massive 21 of the 31 staff have been told they are no longer needed at RACE and the decision is understood to have come as a major shock to the workforce. The 10-month residential trainee jockey course, which has also been completed by top-notch jump jockeys such...

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Ben Coen, Mike Sheehy Bolster New South Wales' Jockey Ranks

Two of Ireland's leading jockeys--Ben Coen and Mike Sheehy--will be plying their trade in New South Wales, Australia for the next few months. Coen, who is the number one jockey for conditioner Johnny Murtagh, and last year won the G1 Irish St Leger aboard Sonnyboyliston (Ire) (Power {GB}), will spend his time in Sydney with the Chris Waller stable. "This opportunity gives me the chance to experience another style of racing," he said. "I've never ridden trackwork with times as well, so that's an experience and something you can obviously...

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'I Was Dreading Doing That Interview All Week' – Big Day for Small Owner

When you have a limited number of bullets to fire, you can't expect to hit the target too often, let alone on Irish Oaks day at the Curragh, but Ronan Fitzpatrick, racing manager to Mark Dobbin, sensed something special was in the offing on Saturday. So much so, Fitzpatrick, full sure that either Cairde Go Deo (Fr) (Camelot {GB}) or Ladies Church (GB) (Churchill {Ire}) were going to do something special this weekend, had worked himself into a tizzy about doing a post-race interview with RTE's Brian Gleeson. He needn't...

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Churchill's Ladies Church Snags G2 Sapphire S. On The Line

Mark Dobbin's 3-year-old filly Ladies Church (GB) (Churchill {Ire}--Rioticism {Fr}, by Rio De La Plata) saluted in last term's Listed Marwell S. and hit the board in three subsequent black-type starts. She went postward for Saturday's five-furlong G3 Barberstown Castle Sapphire S. at the Curragh as a 12-1 chance coming back off a close-up 10th in Royal Ascot's June 17 Palace of Holyroodhouse H. and secured a last-gasp win for a career high. Comfortable in mid division through halfway, the eventual winner had eased into contention when shaken up approaching...

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Invincible Spirit's Shartash Wins The Railway

It is rare that The Aga Khan's silks are at the forefront this early in the major two-year-old contests, but when they are it is always a good sign and Shartash (Ire) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}--Shamreen {Ire}, by Dubawi {Ire}) showed he had the precocity to go with his illustrious pedigree in Saturday's G2 GAIN Railway S. at The Curragh. Kept fresh by Johnny Murtagh following his Naas conditions win May 7, the son of the dual G2 Blandford S. winner was held up early as the Listed First Flier S....

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Plans Fluid For Sonnyboyliston

G3 Longines Red Sea Turf H. runner-up Sonnyboyliston (Ire) (Power {GB}) is a possibility for the G2 Dubai Gold Cup at Meydan on Mar. 26, but trainer Johnny Murtagh will first see how his charge comes out of his latest effort before making firm plans. A winner of the G1 Comer Group International Irish St. Leger at The Curragh on Sept. 12, Kildare Racing Club's 5-year-old gelding closed up the inside in the Red Sea Turf H. and was a clear second behind Stay Foolish (Jpn) (Stay Gold {Jpn}) on...

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The Back Nine With Johnny Murtagh

A horse for 2022: Sonnyboyliston (Ire) (Power {GB}). He's my best horse, and he's ready for Saudi. First season or proven stallion: Whatever I can afford! The market dictates, but I've had luck with first-season sires. Speed or stamina: It depends on the clients, but I would prefer a horse that stays a bit, with size and scope. Kildare or Meath: My heart is in Meath, but all my kids are playing for Kildare! Best current jockey: I've the best young jockey in Ben Coen. Favourite horse you rode: Sinndar...

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Royal Ascot Winner Create Belief Retired

RacehorseClub's Create Belief (Ire) (Awtaad {Ire}), the winner of last year's Sandringham S. at Royal Ascot and the G3 Desmond S. at Leopardstown, has been retired from racing and will go to Tweenhills Stud to begin her broodmare career. RacehorseClub Ambassador Freddy Tylicki said of the 4-year-old Create Belief, "She came back into training with Johnny Murtagh before the new year but, unfortunately, she's since picked up a career-ending injury. She gave RacehorseClub our first-ever winner at The Curragh in a premier handicap in May before winning the Sandringham S....

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Sportsman's Sale Closes On A High

The conclusion of the two-day Goffs Sportsman's Sale on Friday marked the end of a strong four days of trade at Goffs's Kildare Paddocks, with both the Orby and Sportsman's Sales rebounding from difficult 2020 renewals--when forced to move to Doncaster--and posting significant gains. A shade over €3-million was added to the coffers on Friday when 150 of the 162 yearlings offered sold, bringing the two-day aggregate to €6,967,300. The cumulative average jumped 41% to €20,674, while the cumulative median rose 45% to €16,000. Last year at Doncaster, 67.7% of...

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