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McDonogh to ride for Khan

FORMER champion jockey Declan McDonogh has ended the speculation on who will replace Johnny Murtagh as retained rider to the Aga Khan in 2013 as the Meath native was confirmed in the role yesterday afternoon.

It had been widely expected that the 2006 champion would take up the role having previously served Curragh trainer Kevin Prendergast and yesterday brought the confirmation.

McDonogh had 13 rides for His Highness Aga Khan since Johnny Murtagh's abrupt contract termination in late August including one success, which was aboard exciting juvenile colt Zand.

McDonogh, who was thankful to his former boss Prendergast for his support, said yesterday: "It's a huge honour and a huge privilege to be riding for His Highness.

"I've been speaking to Pat Downes, who is His Highness' Irish stud farm manager for a few days now and I can't wait to get started. I already have a bit of an idea about some of the great horses I will hopefully be riding."

The leading rider concluded: "Mr Oxx has already given me some good chances, like when Zand won at Leopardstown. It's a great opportunity for me."

McDonogh's long association with the legendary Prendergast is unlikely to end and he may well still ride for him when available next season, while Shane Foley, who was a leading contender for the Aga Khan job according to the bookmakers, is expected to share the rides out of Michael Halford's base with McDonogh.