RYAN MOORE roared into the history books on the penultimate day of Royal Ascot as he became the first jockey since the Second World War to ride nine winners at the showpiece meeting.
Lester Piggott set the previous post-war best of eight winners in 1965 before repeating the feat a decade a later, while Pat Eddery matched that total in 1989.
Those numbers were achieved when Royal Ascot was a four-day meeting rather than the current five, but Moore, 31, still managed to pass that figure with a day to spare.
With six rides to come today, it is possible Moore could go on to break the great Fred Archer’s overall record of 12 Royal Ascot winners, which dates back to 1878.
Aidan O’Brien has provided Moore with five of his winners this week, including the historic ninth as 5-2 favourite Aloft clinched yesterday’s finale, the Queen’s Vase.
“What can I say about Ryan? He’s a marvellous jockey, probably the greatest jockey I’ve ever seen. He’s a total professional and fully committed. He has great feel about a horse and great feel about a race,” said O’Brien..
“He’s an absolute gentleman to work with and always has been. We’ve worked with him very closely for the last three years and we’re privileged he’s riding for us.”
The three-time champion jockey, who rode his first winner over jumps at Towcester as a 16-year-old, arrived in Berkshire on Tuesday, having previously ridden 27 Royal Ascot winners and been top jockey at the meeting on four occasions.
He got off the mark for the week aboard dual Guineas hero Gleneagles (8-15 favourite), who was a stunning winner of the St James’s Palace Stakes, before completing an opening-day treble aboard Ascot Stakes scorer Clondaw Warrior (5-1 favourite) and Windsor Castle victor Washington DC (5-1).
A Wednesday double featured triumphs on imposing American filly Acapulco (5-2 favourite) in the Queen Mary and 8-1 shot Gm Hopkins in the Royal Hunt Cup.
Moore supporters were in clover on Thursday as the jockey booted the 12-1 chance, Waterloo Bridge, home in front in the Norfolk Stakes and later scored on Ribblesdale Stakes heroine Curvy (9-2) and 10-1 shot War Envoy in the Britannia.
With five rides booked for the penultimate day of the meeting, Moore looked to have every chance of clinching more glory and, although he went close aboard Coronation Stakes runner-up Found, he had to wait until the last race of the day to break the record.
Moore was typically modest when asked about his achievement. “I’m very lucky. I get to ride the best horses and that makes a big difference. ”
Piggott himself said: “Ryan Moore is a brilliant jockey, anyone can see that. To win nine races during any week is a fantastic achievement, but to do it at Royal Ascot, where the competition is so tough, is extremely impressive. I’m sure Ryan will go on to break many more records during his career.”
Moore has taken up an increasingly prominent role in O’Brien’s powerful Ballydoyle operation this year, riding principally for the Coolmore triumverate of John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith. Magnier said: “Ryan is a very modest guy, and, regardless of what anyone says about him, he has a great sense of humour. He’s good company as well as being a good jockey.”
Tabor added: “You can’t add any more superlatives – we’ve seen just brilliant riding all week. “And, dare I say, he’s been very unlucky in a couple of races, but that’s always going to happen.”
Smith was particularly effusive in his praise. He said: “He has a tremendous amount of talent. He’s right up there. I’ve seen them all, Lester, Mick Kinane, Johnny Murtagh, Frankie Dettori – he’s right up there with all of them.”
Meanwhile, David Simcock is expecting even better things from Balios after the lightly-raced colt gave the Newmarket trainer his first Royal Ascot winner in the King Edward VII Stakes.
The winner of a Kempton maiden last November before being narrowly denied on his seasonal debut at Newmarket, Balios was a 3-1 shot for this Group Two contest and was dropped out last by Jamie Spencer.
“Getting my first Royal Ascot winner is a great relief. Everybody wants a winner here,” said Simcock.
“We’ve never made a secret of what we feel about this horse. I think in 12 months’ time he will be a really nice horse. He won’t be over-raced this year. The maximum he will have is three more runs”