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Declan McDonogh warms to new riding task

A winning treble at Newcastle has boosted visiting Irish jockey Declan McDonogh’s profile ahead of his first ride at Randwick.

McDonogh has been booked to ride Coonawarra for trainers Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott in a 2400m-handicap at Randwick on Tuesday, three days after his three winners at Newcastle.

The 37-year-old former Irish national champion arrived in Australia last month and is relishing the experience.

McDonogh was persuaded to come to Australia by premier Sydney jockey Hugh Bowman and is here until the Irish Flat season gets underway in February.

The pair met when Bowman spent time with Irish trainer Kevin Prendergast several years ago.

“Hugh had been on to me for a good few years to come over and have a look and he helped me secure my visa,” McDonogh said.

McDonogh started his Australian stint at Gosford on December 7 winning on the Anthony and Edward Cummings-trained Ma Tante and two days later notched a double at Newcastle with California Turbo and Puppet Master.

He made his Sydney debut at Canterbury last Friday week and returned there on Wednesday. The aim is to ride at a Saturday metropolitan meeting and add to his three winners.

McDonogh, who has also ridden in the United States, Japan and Singapore, decided to head south after his four seasons as John Oxx’s stable jockey at Currabeg ended.

“Everywhere you go you learn something new and this is no different for me,” he said.

“This is totally different to the European style of racing so it’s a great opportunity to give you another string to your bow when you go home.”

McDonogh said there was a key distinction between riding in Australia compared to back home.

“A lot of the races are shorter distances and for me the horses have a great kick here and a good turn of foot,” he said.

“Back home it’s about stamina because the tracks are a lot softer so they have to stay better.”

McDonogh’s mother Helen was one of Ireland’s pioneering female jockeys in the 1970s and his father Des is a trainer.

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