Ryan Moore hoping for a special moment with Workforce
The champion jockey is motivated by winning big races for Sir Michael Stoute and today’s King George is in his sights.
Lingfield Park, Wednesday afternoon. Ryan Moore, champion jockey and Derby winner, is considering where his priorities lie as the Flat season approaches its traditional mid-point, today’s King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot. “One thing’s for sure,” he says. “It’s certainly not Lingfield on a Wednesday.”
Moore has been part of the racing landscape for several years now, and champion jockey in three of the past four seasons. But he remains a puzzle, a jockey who can dismiss an afternoon’s racing in a throwaway line, and then ride every horse as if it were his last. And he is so they say great company away from the track, as any grandson of Charlie Moore, the famously garrulous and entertaining Brighton trainer, should be. Show him a microphone, though, and Moore is suddenly a hedgehog rolled into a ball.
“I think the championship probably means more to other people than it does to me,” Moore said. “It’s an added bonus at the end of the year, but it doesn’t really change a whole lot. The last couple of years, I’ve had a half-page in the Racing Post and that’s about it, so it doesn’t really make much difference to me.
“My priority is the yard, and my focus is on Ascot, Goodwood [next week], maybe Deauville [in August] and then York, Doncaster and Newmarket. It’s the big horses, and being involved in big races. Paul’s riding plenty of winners and the way he’s going he’ll ride plenty more to the end of the year. I won’t be doing anything different. I’ll just be riding where I usually ride and picking up any winners that I can.”
It is seven weeks since Workforce powered seven lengths clear of his field at Epsom, the widest winning margin since Shergar, but the absence has not dimmed the memory. The Derby was only the third race of Workforce’s career, and without doubt, he has the potential to make the rest of the season his own.
Only one Derby runner, however, has a subsequent victory to his name, and the second, third and fifth at Epsom have failed to register a win in a total of five subsequent outings. That leaves open the possibility that Workforce simply beat a poor Derby field, albeit in an excellent time for such an inexperienced colt.
“I don’t think the Derby form is really an issue,” Moore says. “It wouldn’t worry me, because he won in the way that he did. The way he stretched away from them was very impressive. It was a very good performance, and we just have to hope he keeps progressing and finding more.
“He’s been fine since Epsom. He’s never been a very flash horse in the mornings, he just goes about his work, but he’s very well in himself, and if he wasn’t he wouldn’t be running.”
Workforce is the 2-1 favourite for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in October, and will be shorter still if he makes a successful first step into all-aged competition this afternoon. He is likely to start favourite at around even money, with his stablemate Harbinger the main danger according to the market. Moore, though, is more concerned about the Ascot turf.
“Quick ground would be my biggest worry,” he said, though it is one that has since receded after rain eased the Ascot going to good. “Apart from that, I’d hope that I’m on the best horse in the race, he’s a straightforward ride and he’ll just need normal luck in running.”
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