Murtagh scoops Irish jockey award

Johnny Murtagh has been crowned Ireland’s champion Flat jockey.

Johnny Murtagh has been crowned Ireland’s champion Flat jockey.

Murtagh was receiving the accolade for the fourth time in his career – despite being banned on the final night of the season.

Although Ballydoyle’s first-choice rider was not in action, nearest pursuer Pat Smullen was unable to make up the five-winner deficit from a book of seven rides at Dundalk last night.

Smullen, the 2007 and 2008 champion, knew his fate after striking out in the first two races as Funatfuntasia was declared a non-runner in the Rostrevor Race.

Murtagh, who had previously won the title in 1995, 1996 and 1998, finished the campaign with 93 winners.

He said: “It’s been nip and tuck all year with Pat.

“He’s been champion for many years and wasn’t going to give it up without a fight.

“He’s been a great champion and to come out on top of all the jockeys riding in Ireland is very special.

The jockey has enjoyed a fine season, having secured a number of distinguished triumphs in Ireland.

Fame And Glory’s Irish Derby success spearheaded another Irish Classic-winning haul for Murtagh, who also bagged the Irish Guineas double with Mastercraftsman and Again.

The 39-year-old also won the Phoenix Stakes with Alfred Nobel, while St Nicholas Abbey claimed the Beresford Stakes.

Murtagh added: “It’s a big privilege to finish top of the pile. Ballydoyle has been a big help to me.”

Aidan O’Brien, responsible for the bulk of Murtagh’s key big-race victories, again scooped the Irish trainers’ championship.

O’Brien was securing the award for the 15th time as he cosily topped the tally of Dermot Weld – both numerically and in terms of prize-money.

Rising star Gary Carroll, who won the Ebor at York aboard Sesenta, was the runaway winner of the Irish apprentice jockeys’ title.

Derrick Smith, a member of the powerful Coolmore triumvirate, came out on top in the owners’ championship.

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