Monaghan making most of his chance
The attraction of Dubai as a winter base has enabled County Tipperary-born Marc Monaghan to put his career into acceleration mode as the 20-year-old becomes one of the few apprentices to compete on World Cup night when partnering Gold City in the Godolphin Mile.
In his third consecutive season in the UAE, Monaghan has formed a link with trainer Satish Seemar who throughout the 2015 Carnival has utilised only the apprentice and his first jockey, newly crowned UAE champion Richard Mullen.
As a regular rider of the Seemar horses, Monaghan is plotting a route followed by the great Ryan Moore.
“Ryan was in the same position,” says Monaghan.
“He’d just lost his claim after riding winners for Satish. He’s such an easy man to work with and doesn’t tie you down to instructions.
“He’s been very fair and not looked away from me and Ritchie Mullen through the season here.”
While Monaghan had been riding winners here in Ireland, he felt his career was at a watershed. He said: “After starting with Michael Halford I rolled up my sleeves and in 2011 really got going. I had six winners and 11 winners the following year, but then the next season the number decreased, although the wins came in more high-profile races such as a Group Three at Cork and the apprentice Derby.
“While things were not exactly in free-fall I felt the time had come to make a move.
“Basically, there were too many apprentices in Ireland. At first I went to England on a reconnaissance mission and Ritchie Mullen kindly got me rides on some of John Fretwell’s horses.
“Then things started to go well in Dubai which is undoubtedly the best place at which to market yourself, you just can’t beat it.”
Gold City is attractively priced for a big run that could see him run into the money, according to his jockey. He said: “I won on him at the 2014 Carnival and as long as they go a good clip he has the form to be competitive and pick up some
prize-money. Apart from in the Arabian race there haven’t been many apprentices getting to ride in a showpiece race on World Cup night, so I must consider myself lucky.”