WHERE do you stand on Ryan Moore? It’s fair to say opinion was divided after our man Jack Keene wrote a piece questioning the top rider’s run of form.
So we’ve opened the debate up and asked for the views of racing broadcaster Matt Chapman, jockey and Sun Racing ambassador Megan Nicholls and respected professional punter Matt Mitter.
Our column about Ryan Moore caused a stir last weekend[/caption]
Sun Racing – Jack Keene
It’s fair to say that I rattled a few cages with my suggestion last week that Moore had perhaps lost his touch.
It is my view that he has not been riding with his usual cutting edge, that killer instinct that made him such an asset in the saddle for owners, trainers and punters alike.
I have the utmost respect for him and it’s an undeniable fact that he has been one of the world’s best jockeys for the past decade – but it’s also a fact that his numbers have dipped this year.
And not just at Group level, for all the impressive victory of Ten Sovereigns provided some welcome respite. His recent win-less streak was his worst since 2007.
I’m a racing fan and punter who is lucky enough to write about the sport I love. But in no other sport is there such an outcry if a journalist dares to question or criticise an elite athlete, even when there is evidence to back it up.
Anyway, let’s see what the others think…
The Professional Punter – Matt Mitter
You won’t find many shrewder operators on the southern circuit than Matt Mitter, writes Andy Ayres.
He’s a pro-punter who has done more laps of the track than the bunny at Romford dogs.
Matt was a fully paid-up member of Ryan Moore’s fan club, but admits his confidence in the former champ has been badly shaken this season.
He said: “Ryan was the bee’s knees – it was a massive positive if he rode your horse. But I just don’t have that confidence in him anymore.
“Ask any professional sportsman or woman why they make decisions and they can’t answer. That’s because a lot of it is down to instinct.
“I think Ryan has stopped being instinctive and is overthinking everything. He used to do things intuitively but has started pausing for a split second. And that can cost lengths in a horse race.
“You don’t become a bad rider overnight and he could easily bounce back. But at the moment he’s lost that edge and the other jockeys are capitalising. For me he should take time off to clear his head and then go again.”
Ryan Moore – Group race winners before 13 July
The Broadcaster – Matt Chapman
Let’s get one thing straight, very few of those considered to be world-class jockeys suddenly lose their touch.
It’s often more about the horses they ride, rather than a lessening of ability as far as being on top of their game is concerned.
Ryan Moore is world-class. But he is currently riding less winners than he has in many recent seasons.
I think there is one huge reason for this. Aidan O’Brien is more often than not now having a scattergun approach to the feature events. It means that often Moore is on the wrong ones.
He is also being dragged away from the best of the Sir Michael Stoute stable. That was seen when Moore was defeated by ‘his’ mount Crystal Ocean at Royal Ascot, as he had to partner Magical.
I have absolutely no doubt that Moore is riding as well as ever. But confidence won’t be as high as it has been. Winning breeds winners, as we see with Frankie Dettori when he is on a high.
At some stage this season Moore will be back to his full glory. Banging in big victories left, right and centre.
When that happens will depend more on O’Brien than the jockey’s capabilities. O’Brien will decide when we get more of Moore.
Latest in Horse Racing
The Jockey – Megan Nicholls
I massively disagree with the opinion Ryan Moore has lost his touch.
If you’re telling me a jockey who’s had five Royal Ascot winners has lost his touch, then God knows what you’re going to say about anyone else.
He gave Magical one of the best rides I’ve ever seen to finish second in the Breeders’ Cup Turf to Enable and then gave her another great ride in the Eclipse to finish second, again to Enable.
It was merely a question of coming up against one of the best horses of all-time. There have been occasions this year where Ryan has ended up not on the right horse.
A lot of Aidan O’Brien’s only have one or two starts before a Group race so it’s difficult to know who the best horse is as they’re closely matched.
Going into the Derby he looked to be on the best horse in Sir Dragonet. Moore did nothing wrong, the winner got a split at the right time and flew home.
He also did everything right on Pink Dogwood in the Oaks. Frankie Dettori, riding Anapurna, was in a pocket at a crucial moment but once the pair got out they flew.
Ryan kicked slightly earlier and Frankie would have gone with him had he not got stuck.
Don’t get me wrong, people make mistakes and it’s a case of split-second reactions when you’re in a race. Sometimes you’re going to make an error and go too early – we’re not machines.
However, 99% of the time Ryan Moore is in the right place and makes the right decision.
There are going to be times when he gets it wrong, but you’d never say he’s weak in the finish and he certainly hasn’t lost his touch. I can’t get my head around it. I think it’s offensive and I can’t believe it.