With just two months to go until the start of Royal Ascot, jockey Ryan Moore is relishing the prospect of returning to the scene of his record-breaking triumph in 2015.
Moore stormed to a modern-era record of nine winners last year, with only Fred Archer’s stunning 12 wins from 24 mounts back in 1878 sitting above him in the history of the Royal meeting.
The Aidan O’Brien trained Gleneagles got Moore off to the perfect start on the opening day last year, winning the St James’s Palace Stakes and he ended the week with an emphatic success on Aloft in the Queen’s Vase, his ninth win of the week.
Archer’s all-time record is remarkable, but with flat racing as competitive as it has ever been, both in terms of the quality of the jockeys and with the world’s best horses competing, Moore’s achievement ranks as one of the greatest of all time.
Moore admits he wasn’t thinking of breaking records ahead of last year’s Royal Ascot, but getting off to a good start on day one was key.
“Gleneagles was always the most important last year,” Moore said.
“He was very impressive in the St James’s Palace. It was great to get him home on the first day. He would be the biggest memory of last year.
“I wouldn’t have given (nine winners record) much thought before. I was very lucky to be there and have some good rides.
“You just want to get the job right and win. Last year, there were horses which won which I didn’t think would win and some that I thought would win and disappointed. It is always hard to get a winner at Royal Ascot.
“I don’t know too much yet about this year, which horses we have and are looking good. At this stage it is hard to say but we hope they’ll go well.”
Despite being regarded as the best pound-for-pound jockey in the world, Moore keeps a low profile off of the track.
From the outside, Moore is a quiet, driven individual and likes to do his talking on the track rather than fill the column inches or plaster his life all over social media, with the latter being a real bugbear for the impressive jockey.
We caught up with him at his home in Newmarket after he had completed some morning work in the rain. Moore took the time to chat before heading out to ride a winner at Chelmsford that evening – the life of a jockey is a one that many people may never fully understand.
Having grown up around racing, his father Gary an elite trainer and former jockey as well as brother’s Jamie and Joshua and sister Hayley all performing at the highest level, Moore was no stranger to Ascot before competing competitively here for the first time.
Moore admits he couldn’t remember his first Royal Ascot winner, probably because he has had so many since, but the 32-year-old knows just how important each and every ride can be, even when coming through as a young jockey.
“I first went to Royal Ascot when I was 11 with mum and dad. Seeing how busy it was and seeing how people dress was quite overwhelming,” Moore said.
“I used to love the old winners enclosure where the gates open up and when you sit and watch over the balcony. It was very unique and different to anything I have seen anywhere else.
“When you first start riding, I was riding there as an apprentice with horses that didn’t have much chance, I didn’t get into the experience that much as you are there to do a job.
“You go in, into the changing rooms, go out and ride the no hopers and go back in. I always wanted to be involved at the front so when you finish out the back you sort of erase the memory. You want to be at the bigger meetings and it was great to ride there, even if you can’t be winning.
“I can’t remember my first winner, it took me a long time to ride one. It is always important to have winners there as it is the biggest meeting of the year in this country and everyone is there and wants to win. Most of the year is geared up to Royal Ascot.”
The flat season builds to Royal Ascot from April onwards and meetings all over the country will be watched to see the in-form horses heading to Berkshire in June.
Moore is hoping for another big week when Royal Ascot arrives and knows how unique it is to everyone involved in the sport.
“It is a massive week in the calendar; as far as English racing is concerned it is the main week of the year.
“We have the highest quality horses and now have horses coming from all over the world. The prestige and tradition to it makes it different to any other meeting in the world.
“I always said to myself ‘if I am going to ride I need to do it at the top level’. It is a tough game so it is hard to get there. It has always been about riding the best horses at the highest level in the big races.”
Tickets are selling fast with the Windsor Enclosure sold out on Saturday 18thJune and the Furlong Club sold out on Thursday 16thJune. Get your ticketshere, starting at £34