THE magical combination of trainer Aidan O’Brien and jockey Ryan Moore was seen to marvellous effect at Ascot earlier this week.
A powerful run in the final furlong saw Russian Emperor get up on the line to deny The Queen’s runner First Receiver by half a length in the G3 Hampton Court Stakes over a mile and a quarter.
The classy-looking Russian Emperor was a second winner of the week for both handler Aidan O’Brien and jockey Ryan Moore, following the success of Circus Maximus in the opening day’s G1 Queen Anne Stakes. It was also a landmark 60th victory at the Royal Meeting for former champion rider Ryan Moore.
It was a remarkable performance by the winner, who finished runner-up in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown only eight days ago. Bookmakers moved fast to cut the ante-post price of the talented son of Galileo to 10/1 for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby on June 27 behind joint-favourites Innisfree and Vatican City, who can be backed at 5/1. He is an attractive bet at that price.
In the near-empty winner’s enclosure Ryan Moore said: “He is a lovely colt, straightforward and with a good attitude. He was very professional, he has had the benefit of a couple of runs this year and let’s see if he will keep progressing. He has a very good pedigree — his dam was exceptional in Australia.
“I think he will be a nice horse going forward for the rest of the year.”
When Moore was asked about the Derby, he said: “That will be decided. He will give himself a chance to stay, anyway.”
Moore is renowned as a man of a few words, and when the assembled press asked the victorious jockey about achieving a 60th Royal Ascot winner, he responded: “You wouldn’t really give it any thought, would you?”
Russian Emperor’s success on Wednesday handed the Master of Ballydoyle his 72nd winner at the Royal Meeting. It’s fair to say that Aidan O’Brien is the best flat trainer in the world and Ryan Moore is the best flat jockey plying his trade on the racecourses across the globe. When the masters of their craft team up, they are terrifically successful more times than not.
Aidan O’Brien was rumoured to be lining up Moore as stable jockey from November 2011. Moore was excited about the once-in-a-lifetime job offer but reluctant to relocate his family from Newmarket to Tipperary.
They negotiated a compromise that allowed Moore to continue to live in England while riding for O’Brien in Ireland at the major race meetings.
Instead, O’Brien’s eldest son Joseph became number one jockey for Ballydoyle. Moore rode for O’Brien when the handler had a host of runners.
Using that unusual set-up, Moore won the 2012 1,000 Guineas on Homecoming Queen and the 2013 Derby on Ruler Of The World.
By 2015, Joseph O’Brien was struggling to make the weight to compete in the major races and his father Aidan needed a top-class replacement. In April, it was confirmed that Moore would ride Ballydoyle’s runners in the Classics and other major races.
O’Brien explained the arrangement at the time.
“Ryan will be riding our main horses this year and Joseph will be riding other horses when the weights allow him to,” he said.
In March 2016, Joseph O’Brien announced that he would be stepping down from race-riding to concentrate on his new career as a trainer. Joseph began his training career at Owning Hill, Co Kilkenny.
He made an immediate impact on the sport when Intricately won the Moyglare Stud Stakes in 2016. He went on to land the world-famous Melbourne Cup with Rekindling in 2017, the Irish Derby with Latrobe in 2018, and the Pretty Polly Stakes with Iridessa in 2019.
Aidan O’Brien has won all there is to win in flat racing, and each year he produces world-class contenders that bank large pots of price money domestically and internationally.
Judging by what we have seen so far this term, he is sure to enjoy another fruitful season, and in doing so, Moore will also reap the rich rewards and record plenty more big race winners to add to his own fabulous CV.