Sunday 18 February 2018

McDonogh bags Aga Khan job

Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

Declan McDonogh, long-serving stable jockey to Kevin Prendergast, has been confirmed as the Aga Khan's retained rider in Ireland following Johnny Murtagh's sacking from the position in August.

"I'm delighted to have been given this amazing chance," the 2006 champion jockey said of his appointment. "It's a huge honour and a huge privilege."

McDonogh emerged as the leading contender for the job in recent months. Despite having never previously ridden for John Oxx, the 32-year-old has had 13 rides for the Currabeg handler since Murtagh was sensationally relieved of his duties in the wake of his fledgling association with Tommy Carmody.

All of the 13 were for the Aga Khan, and he rode a first winner in the famous green and red silks when Zand won at Leopardstown on October 27.

While the Aga Khan's Irish delegation has not produced a Group One winner since Alandi landed the Prix Cadran in France three years ago, such is the proficiency of his breeding operation, that a good horse is rarely far away and he trailed only Coolmore in the owners' table last season.

McDonogh's appointment has the potential to thrust him into the big time on the international Flat scene, as well as giving him a strong foundation from which to launch a bid to challenge for the jockeys' title again.

A son of Kells trainer Des, who saddled Monksfield to win a pair of Champion Hurdles in the 1970s, McDonogh rode four Group One winners for Prendergast.

However, with 37 domestic winners last term compared to Prendergast's 23, the Aga Khan's squad has far more depth.

Chris Hayes, McDonogh's deputy at Prendergast's, could also now be in line for a promotion of his own.

Irish Independent

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