Ryan Moore trip sparks Ballydoyle speculation

Former British champion jockey to ride Aidan O’Brien’s classic entry War Envoy

Ryan Moore makes a quick return to Ireland to ride Aidan O’Brien’s classic entry War Envoy at Dundalk on Wednesday evening and one bookmaking firm isn’t ruling out such a move possibly being a sign of things to come.

With O’Brien conceding on Sunday it will be tough for his son Joseph to get his weight back to 9st – and confirming Moore is set to take a more prominent role at Ballydoyle in 2015 – the RaceBets firm say they would chalk Moore up a 7/4 shot for the Irish jockeys title if he formally commits to riding here more often this year.

Speculation on Ballydoyle’s riding arrangements is likely to increase with Joseph O’Brien not appearing tonight as he’d originally forecast he would on Sunday at the Curragh when Moore had three Ballydoyle rides including one winner.

Champion jockey in Britain in 2006, 2008 and 2009, Moore is second-favourite behind Richard Hughes to win a revamped UK championship this year but an increased Ballydoyle link might yet make him a contender in Ireland too.


“Given the uncertainty surrounding which jockey will have the majority of the rides from the Ballydoyle stable this season, we have been forced to suspend the market on the Irish Flat Jockey’s Championship for the time being.

“However the fact is that Ryan Moore rides the Ballydoyle first string at Dundalk again tonight, meaning that he has been present for both Irish flat meetings to date this season.

"If Moore were to formally commit to riding in Ireland more often, RaceBets would chalk him up as a 7/4 shot to win the Irish Flat Jockey's Championship with the reigning champion Smullen the 4/6 favourite," RaceBets spokesman, Joseph Burke said.

Mick Kinane, Jamie Spencer, Johnny Murtagh and O'Brien Jnr were all champion jockey in Ireland when holding the No 1 position at Ballydoyle.

War Envoy is joined by his stablemate Song Of Love in this evening’s Patton Stakes with the question of how forward the string are at this stage of the season still unclear.

The Warrior won at the Curragh but Aidan O’Brien reckoned he was rated to do no more than he did while the classic entry, Easter, could finish only fifth in the Park Express Stakes and Jacobean was fourth in a maiden when a warm favourite.

War Envoy’s 111-rating in this evening’s listed feature came on the back of eight runs which saw him placed in the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster and start favourite for the Breeders Cup Juvenile on turf.

One of this evening’s rivals, Rapid Applause, boasts a 110-rating though and can secure another valuable success for his Curragh-based trainer Michael O’Callaghan.

The Kerryman saddled the first two-year-old winner of the season on Sunday, and reckons Rapid Applause is sure to make a better three-year-old than he was a juvenile. He said:

“I think he has improved over the winter quite significantly. “He will come on a lot for the race but I expect him to give a really good account of himself. He was crying out for seven furlongs last year.”

Donnacha O’Brien maintains his partnership with Shinyhappyjohn who bids to repeat his recent course and distance victory in the six-furlong handicap under a stone penalty. The four-year-old won so easily last time that he should still be hard to beat.

Meanwhile, Horse Racing Ireland has confirmed Swiss watch brand Longines is the title partner of this year’s Champions Weekend fixture. The September 12-13 fixtures at Leopardstown and the Curragh are worth over €4 million.

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor is the racing correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Tipping Point column