Johnny MurtaghJohnny Murtagh (eurosport)Ireland’s strong Coolmore Stud had announced that it has replaced Kieren Fallon with Johnny Murtagh as its number one jockey.

This announcement comes in the wake of Fallon’s eighteen month suspension following him having been tested positive for a banned substance.

The 37-year-old has ridden a number of big-race winners for Aidan O’Brien over the years, including the Epsom Derby on High Chaparral in 2002.

His agent Eddie Byrne told PA Sport: “Johnny is absolutely delighted with the appointment, and to be riding for John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith.”

He added: “He’d like to thank Mick Halford and Ger Lyons, who have given him many winners in the last couple of seasons, and hopes to ride for them again when available.

“He’s contracted to ride in Dubai until after the World Cup and then he will be coming back immediately. He is looking forward to his new appointment.”

Speaking from Dubai, Murtagh said: “I am over the moon. It is a great opportunity and I am really looking forward to riding for the team. I am 37 now and my best years lie ahead of me.”

A statement from Coolmore said: “Owners John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith are delighted to announce that Johnny Murtagh will be the retained jockey for their horses at Ballydoyle and elsewhere for the 2008 season.”

O’Brien said: “Johnny has already enjoyed plenty of success as part of the team at Ballydoyle and we are delighted to have him on board.”

Green%20Camera%20Link%20Sml.jpgWatch High Chaparral winning the Epsom Derby 2002.

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