Moore the merrier as Dylan flops

CHAMPION jockey-elect Ryan Moore lifted his first Group One prize as he led home a Sir Michael Stoute one-two aboard Notnowcato in the Juddmonte International Stakes at York yesterday.

Despite being a country mile clear in the race for the riders’ title, Moore had never previously tasted success at the highest level but broke his duck when getting the better of a thrilling battle with Maraahel.

The 22-year-old was always handy on the 8-1 shot and chased the front-running Cherry Mix into the home straight.

Moore then set his mount alight two furlongs out but was joined inside the distance by Richard Hills and Maraahel (9-1), and the pair battled hammer and tongs to the line, with Notnowcato landing the spoils by a short head.

Stoute’s pair pulled three lengths clear of Blue Monday, who had runaway Irish Derby winner and 5-6 favourite Dylan Thomas three-quarters of a length back in fourth.

Moore was quite animated after netting the £500,000 race, and he said: “It’s a relief to win a race like this. I have gone close in Group Ones before, like in the Nunthorpe, and I have wanted to win one.

“I thought I’d held on as we crossed the line but Richard thought he’d got up.

“The ground is a bit sticky and I went to the front a bit early but I thought once I’d got him going there was no point stopping.”

Stoute last landed the International in 1997 with Singspiel, and he said: “The horses have been running well but we just haven’t been winning as many races as we would have liked.

“Watching it wasn’t too bad as I knew it was going to be one of them so it was quite enjoyable for a change!

“Maraahel ran a tremendous race and I thought he had actually got up when I watched the race live, but I wasn’t so sure watching the replay.

“It as always the aim to come here after the Eclipse and we will have to go for anther Group One now.

“He will probably go for the Champion Stakes at Newmarket next and then hopefully finish with a race overseas if everything goes to plan, with the Hong Kong Cup a likely option.”

Hills was on board Maraahel 12 months ago when he took third in the same race, and the jockey said: “I thought I’d just got it on the line but the result went the wrong way.

“He’s run a great race and it’s probably worse when you actually think you’ve won.

“The horse sat down in the stalls just before they opened but that didn’t make any difference. He’s done it before and you’ve just got to hope that he’s not sitting down when they open.

“I got a good run in the race and I followed Mick Kinane through. It was a slow run race but when I put him between horses he really picked up.”

Roger Charlton was full of praise for Coral-Eclipse third Blue Monday, adding: “I’m delighted, he’s run a fantastic race.

“I’m not sure where he will go next but there’s plenty of options for him.

“He’s a much-improved horse and he does try very hard.”

Dylan Thomas had run free in the early stages and was in trouble some way from home under Kinane.

To his credit, Aidan O’Brien’s charge did stay on with a second wind inside the last couple of furlongs but it was to no avail and the market leader continued the dire record of three-year-olds in the race.

Only Giant’s Causeway has struck a blow for the Classic generation in the last decade, and O’Brien felt circumstances might have played against Dylan Thomas.

He said: “It was a very slow pace and he was very fresh early on.

“He’s a good-moving horse but we will just take him home and see how he is, then decide where to go from there.”

Kinane added: “The pace was slow and he was very keen. He probably wants better ground.”

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