Wednesday 21 March 2018

Moore still fancied for retainer at Ballydoyle

As the Flat season begins to wind towards its conclusion, the rumour mill regarding the vacant stable jockey position at Ballydoyle was re-ignited over the weekend.

Nearly a year on from Johnny Murtagh's exit, the situation remains fluid, yet results in the interim hardly point to a desperate need for Aidan O'Brien to fill the position.

In one respect, not least with his son Joseph endeavouring to make the most of what in all probability will be a short career on the Flat, it has suited O'Brien to adopt an 'a la carte' approach. And the talented teenager hasn't been the only one to benefit, with Seamie Heffernan and Colm O'Donoghue also filling in with aplomb.

Still, the conjecture was bound to resurface. Inevitably, Ryan Moore is the man alleged to be on the verge of being appointed.

If Heffernan or O'Donoghue were ever going to get the gig, they would have done so by now. Jamie Spencer, despite his renewed links with O'Brien, isn't obviously being courted by his old boss, while Kieren Fallon's Epsom Derby debacle did for him.

Moore was unfortunate to get injured mid-season, but it is patently clear at this stage that he is O'Brien's preferred choice.

Predictably enough, on Saturday O'Brien dismissed the suggestion of his appointment for 2012 as "just speculation", and Moore, who is well settled with a young family in England, did rule himself out of the job a year ago when he was, according to many reports, the only one offered it.

However, things change. For one, Moore has now got a taste of what working with O'Brien and riding for such a high-profile conglomerate might be like, and he wouldn't be human if his appetite wasn't whetted by Ballydoyle's equine resources.

More significantly, maybe, his boss Michael Stoute has had a miserable year, and possesses few juvenile prospects to instil hope of a prompt resurgence. For a rider of Moore's immense stature, the grass must seem distinctly greener on the other side.

Crucially, in the midst of another fine campaign, Ballydoyle's two-year-olds are a promising collective.

On Saturday, Crusade and Wading enhanced their reputations with commanding performances at Newmarket, and Homecoming Queen did likewise at The Curragh yesterday, all further grist to the mill if O'Brien really is trying to woo Moore.

When you factor in the likes of Classic favourites Maybe and Camelot, not to mention older horses such as So You Think, it's easy to see why some feel it's simply a question of when Ryan Moore agrees to give O'Brien first call on his services.

Tiumen records treble

for Velka legend Vana

Tiumen made it a hat-trick of wins as he swooped late and fast to lift the Velka Pardubicka at Pardubice. Trained and ridden by 58-year-old Josef Vana, Tiumen was adding to his victories in 2009 and last term.

He beat stablemate Sixteen on the way to his first win and it was that horse which put up most resistance in the extended four-and-quarter-mile cross-country spectacle this time.

Vana was winning the Pardubicka for an eighth time as a jockey and the ninth as a trainer.

Deja vu for Rathbarry?

One of the most renowned feats of Rathbarry Stud's Liam Cashman, who died last year, was his purchase of Barathea from Sheikh Mohammed in 1994.

The horse went on to achieve glory in the Breeders' Cup Mile at Churchill Downs.

The win earned Barathea the title of World Champion Miler, and Cashman an immensely valuable stallion.

It was interesting, then, to read that Cashman's son Paul bought Richard Hannon's Railway Stakes winner Lilbourne Lad in advance of the horse's Middle Park second on Saturday.

Lilbourne Lad will take up stallion duties alongside his sire Acclamation at the Castlelyons stud in 2012. Before that, though, he has a Churchill Downs appointment in the Juvenile in November.

Might history repeat itself?

Ride of the weekend

Frankie Dettori's masterclass on Never Can Tell in the Cesarewitch at Newmarket was a breathtaking example of the Italian's evergreen acumen.

From the widest berth, he made all in the most competitive long-distance handicap of the year, and ploughed a lone furrow up the middle in the straight. Few could have executed such a bold plan.

Training performance

John Oxx has done a fine job with yesterday's brilliant Cesarewitch winner Minsk. Beaten in four maidens, the Dalakhani three-year-old still didn't look as though it would go on to much when scoring off 76 at the track back in June.

From there it defied a 15lb hike to canter up in an amateur race under Katie Walsh, and completed a Curragh hat-trick with ridiculous ease for Sam James yesterday off 93. Recently purchased by Barry Connell, Minsk will now join Dessie Hughes to go jumping and looks a decent prospect.

Jim fixes on Dewhurst

On a day of surprises at Newmarket on Saturday, more attention should probably have been paid to Parish Hall prior to the Dewhurst. A 20/1 shot, the Teofilo colt was emulating his sire to become Jim Bolger's fourth winner of the race since 2006.

Number of the week

4 The surprisingly small number of trainers other than Paul Nicholls that Ruby Walsh has ridden winners for in Britain in the past five years after he rode Timesawastin for Evan Williams at Newton Abbot on Friday.

Irish Independent

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