Owen Goulding gives his opinion on Ryan Moore, and why some criticism is perhaps unjustified.
He’s been the subject of great public scrutiny in recent weeks, with plenty suggesting that Ryan Moore is no-longer the top jockey in the UK & Ireland, and not even the best jockey at Ballydoyle. I’m not opposed to jockeys getting criticism (not abuse), especially if they’ve made a notable mistake, but it seems that Moore is receiving more than his fair share of it at present, regardless of what he does.
I’d like to open a discussion about Ryan Moore, and talk about why I believe he’s still one of the best in the business, and why certain criticism in recent weeks is perhaps unjustified. All our horse racing tips for today’s action is on site now!
Let’s not beat around the bush, by Ryan Moore’s high standards, he had a disappointing two days at the Irish Derby meeting. Riding nine of Ballydoyle’s finest, he failed to land a single race, with a record of 542322222. The problem for Moore, more so than any other Ballydoyle rider, is that he’s riding the majority of the favourites, and when they’re beaten, punters are never going to be happy.
This was once again brought to the fore when he finished second aboard the Epsom Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck in the Irish Derby. However you look at the race, Padraig Beggy has ridden them to sleep, poaching a huge lead early on and that proved decisive on a stamina-laden son of Galileo who would have run better in the Derby had he not been hampered early on.
I’m in agreeance that Ryan Moore should have been closer to the pace and that ultimately ended his chance, but why is Ryan the only jockey to get a huge amount of criticism for the ride? Chris Hayes was also on a fancied horse and was behind Moore throughout the race, with his mount also flying home to finish fourth.
I’m not advocating the abuse that some nasty individuals give to jockeys after “poor” rides, but I don’t agree that Moore is the only jockey who should be brought to question about his tactics in an Irish Derby that was won by a masterpiece of a ride.
Ballydoyle has a lot of ammunition, and that was very obvious throughout Royal Ascot and the Irish Derby meeting, with Aidan O’Brien sometimes having more than half the field in certain races. Let’s not pretend that we know the set-up at Ballydoyle, only Aidan and his team know how the jockey selection process works.
Let’s say, for argument’s sake, that Ryan Moore gets the pick of who he wants to ride in each race. With such a huge amount of top-class horses, Moore is ultimately going to get it wrong on occasion. Ballydoyle is also privileged to have a big team of talented riders, with Seamie Heffernan winning the Derby and Donnacha O’Brien riding winners left, right and centre. Jockeys will outride each other, and it’s no different at Ballydoyle.
Despite the huge amount of debate about whether he’s still as good as he was, Ryan Moore is still on target to record an “average” season, by his standards. In the past five years, Ryan has a strike-rate of 21%, with this year’s strike-rate currently standing at 22%. Yes, there is plenty of time still to go in 2019, but the numbers suggest he’s riding no better or worse than recent years.
I’ll be perfectly honest, I’ve found myself on occasion thinking that Moore perhaps hasn’t ridden to his best in 2019, with plenty of winners perhaps going astray. That, however, is something that happens to every jockey. When you’re under a microscope like Moore is, nothing is going to get past the racing public.
You have every right to question and criticise (but not abuse) jockeys who have perhaps not ridden the best race possible, but let’s not forget two very simple facts. Ryan Moore doesn’t make himself the favourite, and Ballydoyle has so many good horses, that the “first-string” isn’t necessarily the favourite in the market.
I’m not suggesting that Moore shouldn’t be criticised, if he rides a poor race, then he’s open to criticism. At present, it seems that whether he’s on the best horse in the race or not, he’s still going to get the brunt of punter’s anger.
What is your take on Ryan Moore in 2019, is he still the best jockey in the UK & Ireland, or is he now starting to decline? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter!