Hailed by Sir AP McCoy as the world’s greatest jockey, Ryan Moore has lit up the Royal Meeting like no other rider in its recent history. Here, he reflects on riding an astonishing nine winners in 2015 and on the afternoon two years earlier when he won the Gold Cup for Her Majesty The Queen…
For over 300 years the greatest figures in horse racing have been writing chapters to weave into the glorious annals of Royal Ascot’s rich history. If one were to somehow layout these abstract pages on the racecourse’s world-famous turf, there would be enough to cover almost every blade of grass.
Central to the plot of the two most recent entries is the English superstar jockey, Ryan Moore, who twice in the last three years has helped to light up the Royal Meeting and provide memories that will last a lifetime for those around to witness them. In 2013, he guided Her Majesty The Queen’s filly, Estimate, to an emotional victory in the Gold Cup, while at last year’s Royal Ascot he notched up an incredible nine winners – more than any jockey at one Royal Meeting in the post-War era.
Think, for a minute, of all the great jockeys that have ridden at Royal Ascot during that time: Sir Gordon Richards, Lester Piggott, Willie Carson, the late, great Pat Eddery, Steve Cauthen, Frankie Dettori and Michael Kinane to name but a few. None of them rode as many as nine winners in one year, and none of them ever managed to ride a Gold Cup winner for the reigning Monarch. Ryan Moore managed both in the space of 24 months.
Moore is a quiet, unflashy and unassuming man, whose prodigious talent was apparent from an early age. It would bring him fame, fortune and three British Champion Jockey titles by the year 2009, just weeks after his 26thbirthday. He has won two Epsom Derbys, eight Breeders Cup races, a Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, a Melbourne Cup and countless other Group 1 races all across the world.
“I’d been around horses from a young age,” he remembers. “My grandfather [Charlie Moore] trained racehorse and my father, Gary, does too.
“As a child I was probably a bit more interested in jumps racing than the flat and the jockeys I enjoyed watching the most were Richard Dunwoody and AP McCoy [more from him later].
“I was lucky to grow up in a working racing stable and I got to see a lot of riders up close. Richard Hughes used to ride a lot for my dad and I used to watch him closely – I loved the way he’d position his horses and drop them into the pack. When I was very young Frankie Dettori used to work for my grandfather, who was always telling me what great hands he had. When you’re around these people from a young age it’s easy to pick things up.
“I started proper race riding when I was 16 and when I was doing my A levels it just made more and more sense that I should focus on doing it for a living.
“Back then I always said to myself that if I was going to ride I wanted to be doing it at a high level. It’s a tough life and it takes a huge commitment to be a professional jockey so once I’d made the choice I needed to ride in the top races to make all of that worthwhile.
“For me it’s always been about riding the best horses in the biggest races.”
Read more from Ryan Moore in the Royal Ascot Magazine, available at Ascot Racecourse
Tickets for this year's Royal Ascot are proving as popular as ever, with the Queen Anne Enclosure sold out on Thursday 16th, Friday 17th and Saturday 18th June. The Windsor Enclosure has sold out on both Thursday 16th and Saturday 18th June, with limited availability on Friday 17th June.
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