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Wednesday 7 December 2016

Mick Kinane: Moore the merrier as Ryan takes Ascot by storm

War Envoy ridden by Ryan Moore before winning the Britannia Stakes during Ladies Day, on day three of the 2015 Royal Ascot Meeting at Ascot Racecourse, Berkshire
War Envoy ridden by Ryan Moore before winning the Britannia Stakes during Ladies Day, on day three of the 2015 Royal Ascot Meeting at Ascot Racecourse, Berkshire

ROYAL ASCOT is always a very enjoyable week and already it has been a memorable one for Irish trained horses and I suppose the biggest story has been the form of the Aidan O'Brien horses and more so the form of jockey Ryan Moore.

It has been very evident for a long time now that Ryan is riding at the very top of his game but this week he has just been exceptional.

Yesterday we saw him ride Waterloo Bridge and Curvy to victory but as Ascot can so often do, it gives with one hand and takes with another, as he was undoubtedly a very unlucky loser on Kingsfisher in the Gold Cup.

All credit to Trip To Paris who came forward very well from winning the Chester Cup and Graham Lee gave him an excellent ride and has enjoyed a real resurgence since he switched from the jumping ranks to riding on the flat but a vital time of the race Ryan just couldn't get his momentum up on Kingfisher and you'd have to say that it cost them the race.

However, it's hard to keep a good man down and Ryan showed his class by bouncing back in the next race and giving War Envoy a perfect ride in the Britannia Stakes coming from behind on the far rail to get up and win by a neck and that's the response you want to have after a near miss like he did in the Gold Cup.

STOOD UP

Ger Lyons ran Sacrificial in the Britannia and he belied his odds to come home alone on the near side and finish third and the form of the Irish horses, with possibly the exception of a couple of Jim Bolger's, has really stood up and everyone is getting in on it.

Forgotten Rules ran a very sound race in the Gold Cup but I suspect he was just feeling the quick underfoot conditions and he just didn't see it out like he may have with an ease in the ground, yet he still wasn't beaten that far and there's still an awful lot more to look forward to with him.

We spoke about Ryan Moore's near miss on Kingfisher in the Gold Cup and of course Jamie Spencer had a similar scenario on The Grey Gatsby on Wednesday when his run was delayed due to some traffic and he just failed to get past Dermot's Free Eagle.

There's no doubt that Jamie Spencer was unlucky but all credit to Pat Smullen who rode a very good race on a horse that there were concerns regarding fitness and he was in the right place the whole way and it was a credit to horse, jockey and trainer that Free Eagle hung on. But what can you say about Aidan O'Brien?

All week his horses have been running way beyond their apparent chances and their initial prices but while that may have been a surprise to punters, it was no surprise to the trainer as there was plenty of confidence emerging from Ballydoyle going into this week and how right he was.

Yet again, he has produced his team here trained to the minute for the big day and even those that haven't managed to win have still run very good races.

One factor is the ground and I would have experienced that as well when riding Irish horses at Royal Ascot.

For the spring of the year they have been running here on very different ground and those horses bred for quick ground are getting their optimum conditions for the first time and that makes a big difference. Add in an incredible trainer and a fantastic jockey and you can see why they've had the week they have so far.

It's been a good week for the Coolmore team too with Wesley Ward sending over Acapulco to win on Wednesday and David Wachman's Curvy yesterday and connections are considering the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby with her and you can certainly see the logic behind that because she is continually improving and she got the 1m4f trip very well.

Looking ahead to tomorrow's Golden Jubilee Stakes and I suppose Aidan's horse Due Diligence with Ryan Moore riding is going to be a lot shorter than he was earlier in the week due to the form of trainer and jockey but I think the Australian horse Brazen Beau is going to be extremely difficult to beat despite being a three-year-old.

Ryan Moore is likely to cap off a fantastic week with Telescope in the Hardwicke Stakes. We saw last year that he is really suited to this race and I think the outcome will be the same this time around.

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