Ryan Moore back from injury with a bang aboard Spatial at Newmarket
Ryan Moore Ryan Moore back from injury with a bang aboard Spatial at Newmarket Jockey had been absent for almost a month with hip problem
No new details about injury but Goodwood limp has gone
Ryan Moore is a master of the well-timed run and the man who is widely regarded as the best jockey in the business made a smooth, winning return to action here on Friday after almost a month on the sidelines. Moore arrives back in the weighing room with 12 days to prepare for the St Leger meeting at Doncaster, a fixture which kicks off an international cycle of championship meetings when demand for his services will reach its peak.
Spatial, the 4-6 favourite for the opening race on the card, eased Moore back into the winning groove with a two and a half length success under a hand ride. A daughter of Spacious, who was beaten just half a length when second to Natagora in the 1,000 Guineas eight seasons ago, she looked well up to Group-race standard here and could line up next in the Group Two Rockfel Stakes back at Newmarket next month.
That race is staged on the Rowley Mile on the other side of the heath, as the July course will enter hibernation for another season after a final fixture on Sunday. It did not feel like autumn here and the temperature edged into the mid-70s, but the return to the Rowley Mile is another reminder that the Flat season is building towards its climax.
Spatial is trained by Sir Michael Stoute, who will also saddle Ulysses in Saturday’s Winter Hill Stakes at Windsor, one of two rides for Moore on his second day back in the saddle. Aidan O’Brien, though, is the trainer with most reason to welcome Moore’s return in time for the season’s run-in, which includes Champions Weekend in Ireland, the Arc meeting in Paris, Champions Day at Ascot and the Breeders’ Cup in California.
The exact nature of the injury which had kept Moore out of action since 31 July remains unclear, although he was walking with a noticeable limp during the Glorious Goodwood meeting in late July, when he still finished the week as the leading rider with eight wins. Moore insisted after his winner, though, that he is “in better shape now than I was the last month when I was riding” and the limp has certainly vanished.
“It’s nice to come back at Newmarket, which is just down the road for me, and she’s a nice filly so I can just build back into it,” Moore said.
“I just decided it was the sensible thing to stop. It was unfortunate to miss [the Ebor meeting at] York, that was disappointing, but I wanted to be back for Irish Champions Weekend. That’s a big weekend at Leopardstown and The Curragh [on 10 and 11 September] and then we have all the two-year-old races back here, so there’s a lot to look forward to.
“It’s disappointing [when I’m off] but it’s part of the sport and happens to plenty of people and will happen again. I’ve had to deal with it and I’ve had good people around me and it’s nice to be back for the end of the year.”
Paddy Power cut Moore’s odds for the Flat jockeys’ championship from 25-1 to 10-1 this week when his return to the saddle was confirmed but it looked like a wild over-reaction at the time and even more so now, as Moore continues to insist that a title challenge is not on his mind.
His win on Spatial took him to 58 for the campaign, still a long way behind Silvestre de Sousa, the leader on 75.
“I’ll be taking things very sensibly, for the time being anyway,” Moore said. “It’s nice to have those sort of things [like the championship race] but there’s more important things and it’s not one of my priorities.
“I wasn’t riding every day anyway [before his time off]. I was probably riding four or five days a week and it will now probably be very similar to what I was doing before. I’ll ride the weekend and then the beginning of next week looks quiet and it’s the week after that I’d be looking at, with Doncaster and Ireland. I’ll build up slowly and not take any chances.”
De Sousa will still be feeling the pressure as he defends the title he won last year, as Jim Crowley continued his charge towards the lead with a treble on the card at Ffos Las.
With De Sousa not in action until Friday evening’s card at Newcastle, Crowley was cut to a top-price of 7-4 to win the championship, which concludes on Champions Day at Ascot on 15 October, while De Sousa is an uneasy favourite at 1-2, having been as short as 2-11 earlier in the week.