Boost for O'Brien as Moore set to return
Aidan O'Brien received a boost yesterday with news that stable jockey Ryan Moore is back riding out following his spell on the sidelines, although the rider's father Gary reported that he will only return to the track when the time is right.
The former champion jockey has been sidelined since Glorious Goodwood due to a non-specified injury, with his last competitive ride being for O'Brien on Alice Springs in the Prix Rothschild at Deauville on July 31.
There has been speculation of an imminent return, but Moore Snr does not believe his son will be rushing back until he is completely recovered.
"He is riding out. I think it has only been for a few days," said the Sussex trainer. "When he is feeling well enough and when it is worth coming back, he will come back."
The final classics of the season on both sides of the Irish Sea fall on the high-profile weekend of September 10 and 11, which is also Irish Champions Weekend and the Arc trials fixture.
Another jockey on comeback trail is Fran Berry who's set to return from injury at Kempton tomorrow after having to miss the main summer festivals across the water.
Berry, who is in his first season as stable jockey to trainer Ralph Beckett, broke a vertebra in a fall at Doncaster towards the end of June. Prior to the mishap, the Kildare native had enjoyed a fruitful campaign in which the highlight was a Royal Ascot win on Kinema.
Meanwhile, O'Brien's star juvenile Caravaggio is set to clash with Richard Hannon's highly-regarded Mehmas in next month's Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket.
The six-furlong Group One is shaping up to be one of the races of the season with the unbeaten Caravaggio, winner of the Group One Phoenix Stakes, and Charlie Appleby's Gimcrack hero Blue Point likely to line up.
Hannon's colt finished second behind Caravaggio in the Coventry at scot but has since won both the July and Richmond Stakes, beating Blue Point into second on the latter occasion.
Mehmas was due to tackle the Prix Morny at Deauville but a setback ruled him out, prompting Harry Herbert, racing manager for owner Al Shaqab Racing, to point towards Newmarket.
"The plan is for Mehmas to go to the Middle Park," said Herbert. "Like a lot of horses at the moment, he just had a bit of a dirty scope, it just wasn't 100pc, which stopped him from running. It was such a shame, but he's in good form and we'll look to Newmarket."
Peter Niven has indicated that Clever Cookie could bid for redemption in the Palmerstown House Estate Irish St Leger. The eight-year-old could finish only fifth in last week's Lonsdale Cup on the Knavesmire, beaten eight lengths by Quest For More.
Niven felt his charge was not at his best that day and is hoping either the Curragh classic on September 11 or the Doncaster contest two days earlier can see Clever Cookie return to the kind of form that saw him win the Yorkshire Cup earlier this year.