Is Ryan Moore the Best Jockey in the UK and Ireland after Royal Ascot Performance? While a few jockeys made the headlines for some absolute howlers at the recent renewal of Royal Ascot earlier this month, most notably Puerto Rican Irad Ortiz Jr. and showman Frankie Dettori — who both had weeks to forget for the most part and were handed bans for careless riding — Ryan Moore was in the spotlight for all the right reasons at the royal meeting.
The English rider ended a four-year wait for a ninth-career Royal Ascot jockeys’ title, riding an impressive seven winners over the course of the prestigious five-day event — beating Godolphin’s number one rider William Buick, the odds-on favourite to win the 2022 Flat Jockeys’ Championship in the Betdaq racing betting, by two after Buick cut the deficit in the final race of the meeting aboard Willie Mullins-trained Stratum.
The best of those seven winners arguably came aboard Broome in the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes on the final day of the meeting, which also just so happened to be a 900th Group/Graded winner for Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien.
Buick and Hurricane Lane were the odds-on favourites for the one-mile, four-furlong contest, but Moore rode the O’Brien horse with perfection — keeping him wide from the others early on before edging in and taking the lead two out, keeping on strongly to win by over three lengths clear of Mostahdaf and Jim Crowley.
His ride later in the day, which took him to the landmark seven winners, was quite the opposite — but just as good as it displayed the Brighton native’s sheer ability. The saddle of Rohaan, a horse not many would have backed to win the Wokingham at 18/1 in the racing tips today, the pair were held up at the rear but squeezed through the crowd in the final 110 yards to win by three-quarters of a length clear of Popmaster.
The most prestigious of his seven winners came in the Ascot Gold Cup — the highlight race of the week. Kyprios was the 13/8 favourite for the premier stayer’s contest and Moore made sure he delivered for the backers of the market leader as the duo held off Mojo Star and Rossa Ryan to win by half a length — securing a third Gold Cup for Moore and an eighth for O’Brien.
Of course, the argument for who the best jockey in the UK and Ireland is subjective, and everyone will have their own view on it. But there is certainly more than a solid case for Moore, with his softly spoken nature much like his immense riding style — nimble, soft, precise and more about timing than ruthlessness and speed.
Indeed, he’s rarely in contention for the Champion Jockey award these days, with his three wins in 2006, 2008 and 2009 feeling like a lifetime ago.
However, that is more down to his intentions of focusing on the big meetings and major races over going to meaningless meets just to rack up a few winners — especially at 38 years of age when your racing days are numbered.
His record speaks for itself, with Group winners in all four corners of the globe, and while the onus is mainly on Buick and Moulton Paddocks’ Charlie Appleby these days due to the sheer power of their Godolphin contingent, O’Brien and Moore are proving just as strong and won’t go down without a fight.
There’s no doubt that Moore is still up there with the best and when he’s riding on the crest of the wave, he is in a league of his own — as he proved at Ascot. Just like with every sport, everyone will have their opinion on who the best is but Moore certainly deserves a place in the argument.