Ryan Moore - perhaps the world’s most in-demand jockey - offered the perfect example of his talent aboard The Grey Gatsby in the Qipco Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown today.
Two of the most notable upsets of the Flat season have been caused by Moore, first when he helped Tapestry upset Taghrooda in the Yorkshire Oaks, and now when driving the 7-1 chance a neck ahead of the dual Derby winner Australia in the shadow of the post.
Kevin Ryan’s colt was already a Classic star himself, having lifted the French Derby under an inspired Moore back in June, but there had been two lengths between the pair when Australia (30-100 favourite) had been so impressive in the Juddmonte International at York.
Moore was one of those in no hurry during the early stages, as Australia’s pacemaker Kingfisher and the Hamdan Al Maktoum pair Alkasser and Mukhadram formed a leading pack.
As the field compacted, Joseph O’Brien was forced to go quite wide around the home bend on Australia, while Moore, who had been positioned last, saved ground further inside and used that momentum to propel him on to yet another major success. There was a huge distance back to Trading Leather in third.
The Grey Gatsby had been supplemented for Ireland’s premier Flat event and was completing a memorable day for Mastercraftsman, who had also sired Ladbrokes St Leger hero Kingston Hill.
Moore said: “He ran a very good race in the Juddmonte, we knew Australia would be hard to beat but he had come on a little bit from York.
“The race set up nice for him and he really tries hard. He puts his head down and I think they pulled nine lengths clear, I’d say both horses have run very good races to pull that far clear.
“Every race you just have to see how it unfolds and it looked like they’d go fast.
“We planned to be patient and to have him where he’s comfortable. The horse travels well, you give him a target and he’ll chase it.
“When he won the Dante I really liked him, and when we went to France I thought he could run well but he surprised me with how well he won and I thought then this is a very good horse. He’s proved it today.”
Ryan said: “Ryan went out with a plan. He thought they would go very hard, so he was going to hang on to him.
“I said to him that was Plan A, but if he had to revert to Plan B or C, so be it. You don’t tell Ryan Moore how to ride.
“He’s a great racehorse and I’m very proud of him. I’ve felt all along that he’s never had the credit he deserves and if he doesn’t now it will be unbelievable. The horse has done his own talking
“Hughesie (Richard Hughes) said at York that Australia just got first run on him. On the day I don’t think he would have beaten him, but Hughesie thought he would have been a lot closer and given him a harder race.
“Today we had him in a little bit better shape as we were always conscious of this race.
“Turning in I was thinking he had a lot of ground to make up, but in fairness to Ryan he was saving ground while Australia had to go wide.
“He made up the ground well and when he passed one and picked up, I thought he would go very close.
“He’s a horse that has taken us on a great journey, both me and the owner. He’ll stay in training next year and will get stronger and better. We’ll hopefully have another great year.
“He won’t go to the Arc. He could go to Ascot on Qipco day (Champion Stakes) and if he did that would be his last run.
“We’ll start off next year in the Dubai Duty Free.”