Moore comeback increases hopes of Gleneagles return
Ryan Moore is back at the helm for Aidan O'Brien's elite team at Newmarket tomorrow following a surprise return from injury at the track yesterday.
Moore had been sidelined since suffering a neck injury when his mount Newton's Law reared up in the stalls at Newmarket in July and had kept his own counsel on the extent of the damage. Having ridden work for Michael Stoute on Wednesday, it initially emerged that he would return to competitive action today.
That was then brought forward to yesterday, when he was parachuted in to replace Andrea Atzeni on Stoute's Peterhof, which finished third on the Rowley course.
Moore's return, which was unexpected given the lack of information regarding his recovery, will also be a tremendous boost to the Coolmore partners, with whom he has enjoyed such a prolific association as their de facto No 1 rider this term.
Recognised as one of the world's finest big-race riders, he resumes Group One duty for O'Brien tomorrow aboard Alice Springs in the Connolly's Red Mills Cheveley Park Stakes.
An improved second in the Moyglare Stud Stakes, the Galileo filly has been trimmed into 4/1 for one of the few top-level English contests that the Ballydoyle genius has yet to win.
Maybe even more intriguingly following Sanus Per Aquam's last-gasp Group Three triumph at Newmarket yesterday, Moore will partner Deauville in the Group Two Royal Lodge Stakes. Deauville stretched its unbeaten record to two when beating Sanus Per Aquam at Leopardstown in July.
He is a 20/1 second favourite for next year's Derby as a result, but could press Godolphin's similarly unbeaten Emotionless for the market lead should he impress tomorrow.
Speaking of his enforced absence on his Betfair blog, Moore said: "It has been a long two-and-a-half months. It has been frustrating on occasion. I have been doing plenty of work in the gym and I have been riding out for a little while. I feel good. I feel fit.
"As far as the doctors are concerned, if I am fit enough to ride out, I am fit enough to race-ride. I am looking forward lots now to the rest of the season."
Chief among those that Moore will be looking forward to getting reacquainted with will be Gleneagles, on which he has won both 2,000 Guineas and the St James's Palace Stakes.
Since Ascot, O'Brien has swerved various engagements with Gleneagles due to ground conditions that were deemed too slow. His next possible target is the QE II Stakes on October 17.
In light of Moore's comeback, it is an irony that won't be lost on many who have been disappointed to see the colt minded to the point of parody that, despite being off for so long with a serious injury in the height of the season, Moore returns having not missed one of Gleneagles' engagements.
Ger Lyons will strive for his second Cheveley Park success with the supplemented Bear Cheek (Atzeni), while stable jockey Colin Keane will partner Brendan Brackan in the Cambridgeshire. Mick Halford's Portage and Dermot McLoughlin's Dragon Fei are also set to contest the prestigious handicap under William Buick and Edward Greatrex, respectively.