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Monday 5 December 2016

Aidan O'Brien on Ryan Moore: 'He's the greatest jockey I've ever seen'

Ryan Moore rides Curvy to victory in the 15.40 Ribblesdale Stakes
Ryan Moore rides Curvy to victory in the 15.40 Ribblesdale Stakes

"HE'S probably the greatest jockey I have ever seen," Aidan O'Brien said of the almost unstoppable Ryan Moore at Royal Ascot yesterday.

Moore walked out of Ascot in his best suit last night with eight winners already to his name and by the time he walks out of there this evening it would be quite a shock if he didn't surpass the record of Willie Carson and Pat Eddery which he equalled.

While the improvement of form of some of the Ballydoyle horses may have come as a surprise over the opening three-days of Royal Ascot, the ability of Coolmore's latest number one jockey will shock nobody on either side of the world.

The Australians may have been the last to appreciate the skills of the quietly spoken rider but at the back end of last year when Moore excelled to win the Cox Plate on Adelaide and the Melbourne Cup on Protectionist.

Thankfully, we have the pleasure of seeing Moore week in, week out either on our Irish racecourses or much more regularly across the water but such praise from the likes of Aidan O'Brien, who, has worked with some of the finest jockeys ever, is testament to his ability.

WRONG

It is simply wrong to compare eras and generations and frankly, I wasn't around to appreciate the great Lester Piggott in action, but it must be becoming increasingly difficult for any judge that tries to either compare or rank those two legends amongst others.

Piggott is long retired now but was long a legend before he ever retired and like Kinane and Murtagh since, Moore is another to rightly obtain legendary status in the saddle and rather than compare we should just appreciate as he goes around the world showing off his skills and continues to wow the racing public and reward the punters who follow him religiously.

If punters who spend more time in a bookmakers office than they probably should were ruing the loss of AP McCoy for his never say die attitude and ability to win on horses he had no right to win on, they need only turn their attention to Moore to fill that void and fill the coffers for the summer months.

Yesterday's Gold Cup didn't go according to plan for Moore but in any horse race room is hard to come by, let alone one of the most sought after on the biggest stage and at a vital time Moore and Kingfisher just found things a little tight and their run was restricted.

It was a outcome defining restriction and without it, Aidan O'Brien probably would have added another Gold Cup to his bulging portfolio, but instead it was to be Ed Dunlop and Graham Lee's day and credit to them.

But like the true professional he is and was described as by O'Brien, Moore bounced back in the next to be at his brilliant best on War Envoy. There's almost no stopping him.

"Ryan is a marvellous jockey, probably the best I've ever seen. He's a total professional, extremely committed, has a great feel about a horse and a great feel about a race. He's an absolute gentleman to work with - we've worked with him very closely for the last three years, and for the last couple of years he's been very close to Joseph and very close to everyone. It's a privilege that he's riding for us."

The Coolmore association was cemented this year and is likely to be in place for many, many years. And one of the best things about having Ryan Moore on your side . . . he's not riding against you.

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