Declan McDonogh: set for post as Aga Khan's top rider in IrelandPICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
McDonogh confirmed as Aga Khan retained rider
DECLAN McDONOGH has landed the job as number one rider for the Aga Khan in Ireland next season, succeeding Johnny Murtagh whose association with the owner ended in August.
McDonogh, 32, was champion jockey in Ireland in 2006 and has been associated with the Kevin Prendergast stable for most of his career.
Confirming the agreement Pat Downes, the Aga Khan's bloodstock manager in Ireland, said last night: "Declan McDonogh will be the retained rider for His Highness the Aga Khan in Ireland next year.
"He has ridden for us in the past and rode a few winners for us at the back-end of the 2012 season including Zand who looked a nice prospect when he won his two year old maiden at Leopardstown last month.
"We have a nice team of horses for next season and we're looking forward to the new arrangement. Declan will be riding the team we have with John Oxx.
"We also have some horses with Michael Halford and his stable jockey, Shane Foley, has done well for us in the past, so I'd imagine it will be mix and match situation between both riders where those horses are concerned."
McDonogh said: "I'm thrilled at getting the job with His Highness and it will be an honour and a privilege to be riding regularly in the famous green and red colours next year.
"I would like to sincerely thank Kevin Prendergast, his wife, Lesley, and all of their owners for all the support they've given me over the years and I look forward to continue riding for them when I can.
"I have a one month licence to ride in Japan and will be heading there for January before returning to prepare for the new season."
McDonogh's major winners during his association with Prendergast include the Group 1 scorers, Rebelline (2002 Tattersalls Gold Cup), Termagant (2009 Moyglare Stud Stakes), Kingsfort (2009 National Stakes) and La Collina (2011 Phoenix Stakes).
Recognised as one of the strongest riders in the business, McDonogh achieved his biggest win in terms of prize money when landing the Shelbourne Hotel Goffs Million on the Prendergast-trained Miss Beatrix in 2006.
The man he succeeds, Johnny Murtagh, was sacked with immediate effect in August as a result of "differences between the parties" a matter of days after defeat for the Aga-owned favourite Hartani in the Irish St Leger Trial. Suggestions of a conflict of interest arose because the winner, Ursa Major, is trained by by Tommy Carmody from a yard owned by Murtagh.
The split decision ended Murtagh's second successful association with the Aga which included wins for Sinndar in the Derby and Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and Alamshar in the Irish Derby.