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FAMOUS JOCKEY DEAD

STEVE DONOGHUE

Rec. 9 a.m. LONDON, March 23. After an illness of only 24 hours, Steve Donoghue, the world-famous jockey, has died. Donoghue consulted a doctor regarding his heart last Tuesday and was,to have entered a London nursing home today for several weeks of complete rest. He suffered a heart attack early this morning from which he died in a few minutes.

Steve Donoghue was the outstanding jockey of his day. He was born in Warrington in 1884, and started

work in a Lancashire steel works, but was soon attracted to the Turf. He rode the Derby winner six times, three times in succession, and, with the great horse Brown Jack formed the most famous partnership in the history of the British Turf.

Not only was Steve Donoghue. the outstanding jockey of his day; he was also one of the most colourful figures of the Turf and one of the most successful of all time in his particular department. It was said of him when he retired that for a quarter of a century British racing crowds had shouted themselves- hoarse, exulted, wept, torn handkerchiefs, and smashed belltoppers for a bandy-legged, wizened little jockey who always responded to an imploring "Come on, Steve!" As a public figure Steve Donoghue equalled, if not surpassed, any of the world's riders, and his popularity and performance extended far beyond Britain's tracks: indeed, it was carried world wide by newspaper and film. Leaving Warrington and his poor, hardworking parents at the age of twelve, in terror of his father and a wild temper, and trembling at the sight of eyery policeman, Steve Donoghue had his first ride in public at Ohmy's Circus. A purse of silver was offered as the prize to anyone who could ride a very clever circus donkey v three times round the ring. Steve tried arid succeeded —by riding, as he had seen the clown do it, with his face to the animal's tail—and he won his first purse, which turned out to be 2s 6d in threepenny pieces. Then he went to a job in the stables of the late John Porter, and he returned home to Warrington sporting a large jockey's cap and breeches (large check pattern), gaiters, and boots, and airs as though he were a full-blown Tod Sloan. From then on he never looked back on the road to fame. As Donoghue said' himself on. his retirement: "No jockey ever born could look back on a career fuller of 'life' than mine." He won six Derbys (three of them in succession), six Irish Derbys, two Grands Prix, and practically every other classic race in the Calendar; he admitted to having tens of thousands of pounds in the bank, and yet when he rode his last winning Derby he had not a farthing in the bank and a writ from a moneylender in his pocket. He rode for three Kings, and was the only jockey in the world to have been given a goldtopped riding whip by the late King George V; and he had refused to become Royal jockey—"because of the poor string of horses in the Royal stables." Donoghue had his ups and downs, but his record of success stands out brilliantly in the records of the Turf. To the end of his racing career he kept his weight down to just under Bst, and it was not without unusual mental and physical .powers that he rose to the head of his calling. From his riding days he turned to writing, and he also became known to millions the world over in the Derby picture, "Wings of the Morning," in which he amiably submitted to jokes about his height. Steve Donoghue was a little man in a big way.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/EP19450324.2.24

Bibliographic details

FAMOUS JOCKEY DEAD, Evening Post, Volume CXXXIX, Issue 71, 24 March 1945

Word Count
627

FAMOUS JOCKEY DEAD Evening Post, Volume CXXXIX, Issue 71, 24 March 1945

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