Given that golfer Eamonn Darcy had ambitions of becoming a professional jockey, it shouldn't surprise us that Johnny Murtagh was good enough at boxing to have captured the Irish boy's U14 title.
Nor that his footballing skills brought him close to joining the Blackburn Rovers' youth team. As it happened, a spectator at one of his boxing bouts in Co Meath advised his mother that his small size, weight, good balance, sense of rhythm, and courage would make her son a fine jockey.
Through a letter from his mother, the lad proceeded to get a two-week trial at a school for apprentice jockeys in Co Kildare. Within a year, he was apprenticed to John Oxx. Murtagh was on his way.