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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Mar 2012
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    Lemaire In Murtagh Out

    Whats the story ...conflict with training operation ?

    Johnny Murtagh's contract as retained rider for the owner's Irish-trained horses has been terminated.

    The 42-year-old has ridden numerous Group One winners for the influential owner-breeder, notably guiding Sinndar to victory in the Epsom Derby, the Irish Derby and the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in 2000 when stable jockey to John Oxx.

    A statement issued by Murtagh read: "I was informed yesterday afternoon that my contract to ride for His Highness the Aga Khan was being terminated with immediate effect."

    He added: "I would like to take this opportunity to thank His Highness and his staff at his studs in Ireland and France for the very successful years we have had together, and to sincerely wish them every success in the future."

    The Aga Khan's Irish stud farm manager Pat Downes said: "I can confirm it is true. I don't have a whole lot more to say, other than there were differences between the parties and it was agreed that we would part."

    Following Murtagh's resignation as stable jockey for Coolmore at the end of 2010, he was offered a role with the Aga Khan for a second time in November of that year.

    Murtagh won the French Oaks in the Aga Khan's green and red silks aboard Valyra this June. He is currently injured after sustaining a hairline fracture to a small bone under an eye when kicked by his mount, Lottie Dod, in the preliminaries before the Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh on August 12.

    He has ridden 46 winners so far this year in Ireland and five of his top six money-earners have been Oxx-trained Aga Khan horses, such as Takar and Sharestan, while he has won minor races on horses for the owner's other Irish trainer, Michael Halford.

    Murtagh has been on hand to land some of the big British prizes, teaming up with Oxx's Saddler's Rock, who is owned by Michael O'Flynn, in the Goodwood Cup and taking the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot on the Sir Henry Cecil-trained Thomas Chippendale.

    The Aga Khan announced on Monday that Christophe Lemaire had penned a contract to remain as his jockey in France until the end of 2013. In the last couple of weeks, Lemaire has won the Secretariat Stakes and the Yorkshire Oaks in his silks.

  2. #2
    Yeehaa
    Guest
    Sounds like conflict with training reading between lines of Talking Horses ( Chris Cook)

    1.45pm Johnny Murtagh and the Aga Khan timeline

    17 June Murtagh wins Prix de Diane on Valyra, owned by the Aga Khan, who says: "I had my secret weapon on board, who is the best man in a finish in Europe, if not the world".

    25 August Ursa Major wins a Group 3 on The Curragh, trained by Tommy Carmody from a yard owned by Murtagh. The runner-up at odds-on is owned by the Aga Khan

    27 August Christophe Lemaire has contract with Aga Khan renewed to end of 2013

    29 August Murtagh's contract with Aga Khan is terminated

    There are undoubtedly people who could tell us where the cause and effect lies in all of this, but they aren't talking.
    1.30pm Johnny Murtagh's statement to the press

    "I was informed yesterday afternoon that my contract to ride for His Highness the Aga Khan was being terminated with immediate effect. I would like to take this opportunity to thank His Highness and his staff at his studs in Ireland and France for the very successful years we have had together, and to sincerely wish them every success in the future."

    12.50pm Murtagh update

    Pat Downes, who works as a manager for the Aga Khan's Irish operation, has told the Press Association of the split with Murtagh:

    "I can confirm it is true. I don't have a whole lot more to say, other than there were differences between the parties and it was agreed that we would part."

    Murtagh was snapped up by the Aga Khan at the end of 2010, shortly after the jockey split from Aidan O'Brien. It was his second stint as a regular in the green and red colours, in which he rode a stack of big winners while stable jockey to John Oxx.

    Chief among those was Sinndar, who won the Derby, the Irish Derby and the Arc in 2000. The end of that year was a purple patch for Murtagh, who also won the Abbaye (Namid) and the Opera (Petrushka) on Arc day and later rode Kalanisi to win the Champion Stakes and the Breeders' Cup Turf. He also won the Racing Post Trophy on Dilshaan and the Hong Kong Vase on Daliapour as that year drew to a close.
    Today's best bets, by Chris Cook

    The news has broken this morning that the Aga Khan has terminated Johnny Murtagh's contract to ride for him with immediate effect. That sentence contains the full length and breadth of detail which has so far been made public on this story and it is to be hoped that reasons for the split will emerge in the course of the day.

    A possibly relevant detail is offered by the news section of the Aga Khan's racing website, where the most recent posting says this:

    The Aga Khan Studs have renewed their contract until the end of 2013 with Christophe-Patrice Lemaire, their retained jockey in France. Lemaire started riding in the Aga Khan colours in 2010 and he won his first Group 1 that year for the Aga Khan on Sarafina in the Prix de Diane. Last week Lemaire rode two Group 1 winners for the Aga Khan and trainer Alain de Royer Dupré when Bayrir took the Secretariat Stakes at Arlington Park, followed by Sinndar's daughter Shareta winning the Yorkshire Oaks.

    Certainly Lemaire is a good man to have in your corner and, with him signed up, you may feel that you don't necessarily need to retain another high-profile jockey, especially once Lemaire has proven that he can ride top-class winners all over the world.

    On the other hand, the Aga Khan has a large racing interest in Ireland, where he has had more than 30 individual horses running for him already this year, and Lemaire will presumably not be going over there to ride on a regular basis.

    Murtagh, who turned 42 in May, has ridden 46 winners in Ireland this year at a 20% strike-rate, plus a further eight in Britain. Just two months ago, he won the French Oaks for the Aga Khan on Valyra, who was so tragically lost in an accident at Deauville yesterday. Lemaire was fifth in that race on the more fancied Dalkala, also owned by the Aga Khan.

  3. #3
    If you look at the early stuff from Tinklers manager below you can with the benefit of hindsight see there was going to be trouble ahead. Johnny was the one Tinkler bought in to. Lemaire G1 wins probably just brought it to a head.

    Tim Jones, racing manager to Andrew Tinkler, today explained the background to an interesting link-up that sees the prominent British-owner with his first Irish-based runners and also heralds the return to the training ranks of Tommy Carmody.

    Jones said: "We've got three entered at Dundalk on Friday. They are trained by Tommy Carmody and he is working with Johnny Murtagh. We've got Vassaria, Rasputin and Miss Mediator entered on Friday.

    "All have shown a level of form when they were trained over here in the UK. We decided to send them over to Ireland to run them at Dundalk to take advantage a little bit of the prize-money over there and see whether they could make a mark.

    "They are Andrew's first Irish trained horses. They are the first runners we've had over there that were based there. Obviously Dubawi Gold was Andrew's first runner over there when he was second in the Guineas last year so he was the first runner but these are the first Irish trained horses.

    "I don't think Andrew is Tommy's only owner but he's Andrew's only trainer. Tommy is now training out of Johnny Murtagh's yard and Johnny is working very closely with Tommy. There is obviously a good rapport, a good relationship between Johnny and Andrew over the last sort of twelve or eighteen months. Johnny obviously rode Sweet Lightning to win the Lincoln for Andrew last year and prior to that had been very helpful with a small team of horses that we had in Dubai last year.

    "The tie-up between Tommy and Johnny was the reason for Andrew's sort of input into Tommy's set-up.


    "There are six of Andrew's horses with Tommy at the moment. The other three are a horse called Royal Diamond. He's an older horse, he was with Jonjo O'Neill actually earlier in the year. He had a few runs over hurdles but he hasn't really taken to hurdling so we decided to send him over to Ireland with a view to running him at Dundalk as well.

    "The two remaining ones are a gelding by Montjeu called Hartside. He had three runs for Sir Michael Stoute last year and a very nice unraced colt by Galileo called Ursa Major. We just felt he would benefit from being in Ireland as he would get going earlier than he might otherwise get going over here with a view to just sort of seeing where he fits in the big picture and we'll run him on the all-weather as well.

    "That's the situation, it's a nice little project and really interesting for Andrew and for us and it'll be fun to see how it works out."

  4. #4
    Greg Wood's take on it



    Johnny Murtagh fired by Aga Khan two months after Diane triumph

    • Neither party offers a reason for abrupt split
    • Jockey also involved in successful Curragh yard

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    Greg Wood
    guardian.co.uk, Thursday 30 August 2012 18.37 BST

    Johnny Murtagh in the Aga Khan's colours
    Johnny Murtagh enjoyed many Group One victories in the Aga Khan's colours. Photograph: Sean Dempsey/PA

    Johnny Murtagh, the Aga Khan's retained jockey in Ireland for the last two seasons, has been sacked by the owner with immediate effect as a result of "differences between the parties". The decision concludes their second successful association, which includes victories by Sinndar in the Derby and Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and Alamshar in the Irish Derby.

    Murtagh rejoined the Aga Khan's operation in Ireland in November 2010, shortly after his resignation as first jockey to Aidan O'Brien. The owner's horses in Ireland are split between John Oxx, who trained Sinndar, and Michael Halford while Murtagh also picked up rides from other trainers in the Aga Khan's extensive operation.

    As recently as June the owner described Murtagh as his "secret weapon" following their latest Group One success with Valyra, who was killed in a training accident in Deauville two days ago, in the Prix de Diane at Chantilly.

    Murtagh is currently recovering from a hairline fracture to a bone beneath his eye after he was kicked by his mount before a race at The Curragh on 12 August. He said on Thursday he had been told on Wednesday that his contract would be terminated with immediate effect. He added: "I would like to take this opportunity to thank His Highness and his staff at his studs in Ireland and France for the very successful years we have had together and to sincerely wish them every success in the future."

    Pat Downes, the manager of the Aga Khan's Irish stud farms and a spokesman for the owner, was reluctant to expand on the reasoning behind the decision. "I can confirm it is true," Downes said. "I don't have a whole lot more to say, other than there were differences between the parties and it was agreed that we would part."

    Christophe Lemaire, the Aga Khan's retained jockey in France, has recently won both the Yorkshire Oaks, on Shareta, and the Secretariat Stakes at Arlington Park in Chicago on Bayrir, and his contract to ride for the owner was recently extended to the end of 2013.

    However, rather than any internal competition within the Aga's racing operation, it is the increasing success of Tommy Carmody's training operation on The Curragh, in a yard which is rented from Murtagh, that is being seen as a possible explanation for the split between owner and jockey.

    Carmody returned to training earlier this year after several seasons without a licence to work for the leading British owner Andrew Tinkler, the chief executive of the Stobart Group. Carmody has saddled 11 winners from 43 runners in Ireland this year, including three from 21 which were ridden by Murtagh.

    He had a significant success last weekend, when Ursa Major took the Group Three Irish St Leger Trial at The Curragh, beating the odds-on favourite Hartani, trained by Oxx and owned by the Aga Khan, into second place.

    After the race Orla Murtagh, the jockey's wife, suggested that the colt may now contest the Irish St Leger and described him as "our little star". It is possible that the success of a training operation based in a yard owned by Murtagh may have come to be viewed as offering a potential conflict of interest by the Aga Khan.

    Tim Jones, racing manager to Andrew Tinkler, said on Thursday that he had no comment to make on the news of Murtagh's sacking. Oxx, too, was unavailable for comment.

    Murtagh has ridden 46 winners in Ireland so far this season, with his four most significant money-earners – Takar, Sharestan, Hartani and Harasiya – all trained by John Oxx for the Aga Khan. Murtagh has also enjoyed several Group-race victories in Britain, including Thomas Chippendale, trained by Henry Cecil for Sir Robert Ogden, in the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot, and aboard Oxx's Saddler's Rock, who is owned by Michael O'Flynn, in the Goodwood Cup.

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