Moore back on track
Brilliant Ascot victory for local jockey
The big news at the weekend was the renewal of the partnership between Adamstown jockey, Jonathan Moore, and Welsh trainer, Rebecca Curtis, which was crowned with a superb ride by Moore to forge a victory at Ascot in the £40,000 Grade 2 Reynoldstown Novices Chase on Bigbadjohn (8/1).
Down by three lengths at the last behind front-running Flintham, it seemed a lost cause but Moore never gave up and got his mount to the front by a short head on the line, despite reporting that his horse really did not like the going at all.
He almost added another a couple of hours later when second on Curtis's Joe Farrell (12/1) in the three-mile handicap hurdle, well clear of the rest, and had three more rides for her at Ffos Las on Sunday, without success.
The Adamstown man was appointed stable jockey to the Curtis yard last summer and made a great go of it, with 20 winners in the first few months, including the prestigious Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby with Irish Cavalier, beating the mighty Cue Card in the process.
It was a big win at the Punchestown Festival on the same horse that had led to him getting the job with Curtis.
Within just a few months later things could hardly have been going any better for the young man who was getting rave reviews from the British racing experts only two years after riding his first-ever winner.
And then it all dried up. Moore had his last ride for Curtis in mid-December and, though nobody was saying anything, it looked like the dream was nipped in the bud. Mystery still surrounds the apparent split but suddenly, last weekend it was all back on track again.
He signalled his return with that wonderful ride on Bigbadjohn, and he showed his emotions after the line, and when he was interviewed on TV on his trip back to the winners' enclosure he thanked Rebecca Curtis for her support.
Only 23 himself, Jonathan has time on his side and hopefully his shot at the big time in Britain has now been re-ignited and he can fully realise the huge potential he has clearly illustrated.
I've said before that being a jockey in England can be a tough life, especially the amount of travelling involved. In the past week Daryl Jacob went to Plumpton, Fontwell and Towcester for single rides, and he had three at Fakenham on Friday. All he had to show for all that was a couple of second placings.
He had a full book of rides at Wincanton on Saturday and after hitting the bar in a couple of times he got his winner for the day aboard Gardefort (5/2f) for Venetia Williams in the £20,000 handicap chase. He went to Market Rasen on Sunday for a single spin and it paid off, winning on Lady Markby (2/1f) for Emma Lavelle.
In a quiet week, Pat McDonald (Taghmon) won at Newcastle in Tuesday on Spinwheel (6/4f) for Mark Johnston in a seven-furlong handicap.
Here at home, at Gowran Park on Saturday Seán Flanagan rode an excellent front running race on Killaro Boy (13/2) to win on his chasing handicap debut in an €18,500 event.
J.J. Slevin (Caim) was taken to hospital with suspected broken ribs after Notwhatiam (4/1f), trained by Richie Rath at Screen, crumbled on the flat at the last bend when leading in the handicap chase while going for two wins in a row. It's tough luck on Slevin who has been riding particularly well.
There were no local winners at the Clonmel, and at Navan on Sunday Jamie Codd won the bumper on Gordon Eliott's expensive Gigginstown purchase, Poli Roi (2/7 on).