This Hall of Fame Jockey Wanted to End It All. His Story

…It is what follows next from the man who spent three seasons riding some of the best racehorses in the world for trainer Aidan O’Brien that stops you in your tracks.

Eighteen months after he was on the top of the racing world when winning the Derby on John Oxx-trained Sinndar and 13 months after winning the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe on the same horse, the future five-time champion jockey in Ireland was at such a low ebb because of his losing battle with drink that he stood on a top-floor balcony of a Dubai apartment block ready to throw himself off.

Johnny Murtagh: Creating Belief

Johnny Murtagh has opened up on his a battle with alcoholism that almost cost him his life

A desperate phone call to US trainer John Sadler, who Murtagh was in town to ride for, rescued him from the precipice until his family could arrive to look after him. Murtagh, 51, says: ‘I looked over… that’s how close I was. It scares me to think back now. It is still gut-wrenching when you think about how close it was.

‘The signs were probably there. Drinking a bottle of wine at night on your own with all those bad thoughts in your head.

Johnny Murtagh: Creating Belief is sponsored by Coral and broadcast on Thursday May 5 at 9pm on ITV4 and Tuesday May 10 at 11pm on ITV.

For confidential support call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritans branch. See www.samaritans.org for details.

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About Editor

Rich Nilsen is an 18-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 twice. Rich was also a winner of a $24,000 package into Kentucky Derby Betting Championship I. A former executive with Brisnet.com and a member of the NHC Players’ Committee, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of AGameofSkill.com, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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