‘I couldn’t turn it down’ – Donohoe heading to Mauritius for six-month stint

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Flat jockey Stevie Donohoe on Sunday embarked on a journey to Mauritius, where he has agreed a six-month contract to ride for a top stable on the island nation.

Donohoe enjoyed Royal Ascot success on Rajasinghe in the Coventry Stakes in 2017 and signed off in Britain with a winner on his penultimate ride aboard the Charlie Fellowes-trained Billhilly at Nottingham on Wednesday.

He will sport the blue and red sash silks of leading trainer Soun Gujadhur and is relishing the challenge ahead of him.

Donohoe, 36, said: “It’s a six-month contract and it’s for one of the top stables out there, so it will be a nice change and a new chapter.

“I’ve never been to Mauritius but I’ve ridden in Barbados among other places. I’ve had a few offers to go out in the past, but when this one came along I couldn’t turn it down.

Rajasinghe: a Royal Ascot winner for Stevie Donohoe in 2017
Rajasinghe: a Royal Ascot winner for Stevie Donohoe in 2017
Edward Whitaker
“I’m hoping for success as the stable aim for the big races out there and it will be a change in pace and lifestyle. It’s the right time in my life to go over and experience it and hopefully it will be rewarding.

“It made sense financially to give it a go and the lifestyle will be completely different. I’ve been giving it a good graft here for years now and travelling all over. I’ve ridden all over the world, but in England it can take its toll and sometimes you have to take a step back.

“There’s a huge, broad world out there in racing and I’m hopeful I can hit the ground running.”

Damien Oliver: also going to be riding in Mauritius
Damien Oliver: also going to be riding in Mauritius
Getty Images
Three-time Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Damien Oliver will be among other international riders in the saddle in Mauritius and Donohoe, who has steered home more than 700 winners in Britain, has the option of returning before the end of his six-month stint if he desires.

“If it works out I’ll stay there for six months, but if things aren’t really gelling I can always get back on the plane home,” Donohoe added. “I’ll see how it goes and I’m on a good contract in that he understands if it’s not going the way I want I have an open way to return.

“Their season runs from March until December, so similar to over here, and that was the hard decision, but it could open doors and I’m looking forward to it.”

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