Ryan Moore is a globe-trotting jockey who has gone about his business in quiet and modest fashion, winning major races in eleven different countries and earning a reputation as possibly the finest flat jockey in the world.
Born in Brighton, East Sussex, in 1983 into a racing family, he was perhaps destined to become a jockey. He got on a horse for the first time at the age of three and was riding thoroughbreds by 13. He then became an amateur jockey at 16 and that is when his great career began
Racing seems to be ingrained into the Moore family, with father Gary being a successful dual-purpose trainer, his two brothers are national hunt jockeys and his sister is a leading amateur. It is also a legacy that may be continued by Ryan’s three children, who at the moment are content with riding their tiny Shetland pony but may well follow in their father’s footsteps.
Starting out in racing at the age of 16 in 2000, Moore famously turned down the opportunity to ride in a race because he said the horse didn’t have a chance of winning. This was the first sign of his perfectionist attitude and nobody could really argue with him when he went on to have six winners from thirteen rides in that opening season. His second year as an amateur wasn’t so successful, with no winners from 34 rides but he would steadily progress after that.
He was contracted to Richard Hannon at the age of 18 and his career started to take off. He was crowned champion apprentice in 2003 and then went on to ride 100 winners in a season for the first time in 2004. This is a milestone he has reached eleven times and only failed to do so once since that first time. That year was 2015, when his season was cut short due to injury.
Moore is a three-time champion jockey, winning his first title by the time he was 23 in 2006 and following that up in 2008 and 2009. If it wasn’t for a number of injuries, he would no doubt have won more titles than he has. He has missed a lot of time due to these injuries with a broken arm forcing him out of action in 2007, a serious fall at Goodwood hampering his 2011 campaign and a successful 2015 brought to a halt by being unseated in the stalls at Newmarket causing him to suffer a severe neck injury.
He has always insisted that being the champion isn’t his main reason for riding, as he is more driven to win the more prestigious races. He has a brilliant record in major races with success all over the world including numerous Breeders’ Cup winners, the Melbourne Cup and the Prix de l’arc de Triomphe. In Britain, the only classic race to elude him is the St. Leger and he is determined to add that to his CV before he retires.
His first Group 1 winner was back in 2006, for Sir Michael Stoute, when ‘Notnowcato’ won the Juddmonte International Stakes at York. He won his first Epsom Derby in 2010 on ‘Workforce’ which come just one day after riding ‘Snow Fairy’ to success in the Oaks. He became a two-time Derby winner in 2013 when he rode the Aidan O’Brien trained ‘Ruler of the World’ to victory.
Last year, in 2015, he set a new modern record by riding nine winners during the highly prestigious Royal Ascot festival and was on course for a fourth champion jockey title before suffering his injury. As well as that success at Ascot he had also won both the English and Irish 2,000 Guineas, the English 1,000 Guineas and was leading the race for the title. After missing the remainder of the season, he ended up with 82 winners and a long way behind eventual champion Silvestre De Sousa.
This year has started off well for him, with one win and a second from three races on the all-weather in Britain and even more success overseas. In January, he rode ‘Sun Jewellery’ to success in the Hong Kong Classic Mile and a month later won the Hong Kong Classic Cup on the same horse. In March, he added his third Group 1 winner of the year by winning the Dubai Turf on ‘Real Steel’.
Sometimes criticised for being miserable and having a surly attitude, Moore is a fiercely competitive and determined rider that is known for being a very private man. He is also modest and humble when it comes to talking about his success, with him pointing at the records of legendary jockeys such as Lester Piggott when his records are mentioned.
As of the end of 2015, Moore had ridden 1,829 winners on the flat in Great Britain with a strike rate of about 17%. This was as well as having a brilliant career win record in Ireland and overseas.
With the 2016 British turf season just a few days away, at the time of writing this, the bookies have it priced as a two-jockey race to become champion this season. They consider it to be between Moore and defending champion De Sousa, with everyone else seen as just an afterthought.
It would be a fully deserved success if Moore was to win the title for a fourth time, especially after the cruel way last season was ended for him, but that isn’t his most important aim for this year.
He comes into 2016 as number one jockey for Aidan O’Brien, in a partnership that has already had success in numerous Group 1 races all over the world. He will be confident of adding more major race wins to his long list and again prove himself to be one of the most talented flat jockeys to ever grace the sport of horse racing.