By Simon Jackson.
Father and son Gary and Josh Moore combined to win the £155,000 feature race at Newbury on Saturday with 20-1 shot Violet Dancer
The three length victory in the Grade 3 Betfair Hurdle was the biggest win to date for Josh Moore, the younger brother of top flat jockey Ryan Moore and of Jamie Moore, the rider of top chaser Sire De Grugy.
Violet Dancer’s success in the Grade 3 two miles and half a furlong contest, proved to be the highlight of an otherwise frustrating day for trainer Gary Moore that included seeing Sire De Grugy unseat Jamie Moore in the Betfair Price Rush Chase.
“It’s the craziest day that I have ever come across,” the trainer said. I had three runners in the first and none of them ran well. Then Sire De Grugy gets rid of Jamie and this horse goes and wins this,” the trainer said.
“Jamie won’t be very happy because he was in limbo which horse to ride. I think he made the choice in the end but Josh is a very, very good rider. Fair play to Hayley [Moore – trainer’s daughter], she has done a lot of schooling with him and his jumping is a lot better.
“He has jumped so much better today and has probably had a fairly easy lead in front. Halfway round, I thought ‘Josh, why are you going so fast?’ but he obviously got it right again.”
The winning rider added: “He felt great the whole way. We did a standing start and I wanted to be handy – I didn’t want to miss it – and, all of a sudden, he has gone and I am the only one there upsides James Reveley.
“I had a nice lead and it’s the best that he has jumped because he had a clear sight of his hurdles. I was always able just to sit on him and it helps at the end of it.
“It has been a quiet year and Sire De Grugy was a bit unfortunate in the race before and you always need a big winner, especially in a race like this. Dad always does well with his handicap hurdlers and he built his reputation a little bit on it. The horse has come here in great form.
“I have Hayley and Jamie to thank. Jamie was kind enough to let me ride this horse and Hayley has been riding him out on his own at home which has really helped him.
“We thought he had a big handicap hurdle in him. We were fortunate in running. There was lots of trouble in behind but I couldn’t hear anything. My only worry was whether there had been a false start as it was so quiet.
“This is the biggest win of my career so far.”
Meanwhile Gary Moore has confirmed that the defence of the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase remains the target for Sire De Grugy, who unseated three fences from home on his first race since April – after his intended comeback was delayed due to a hip injury.
“Sire De Grugy is fine, trainer Moore said. “He trotted up for the vet and he was quite happy with the horse.
“We live to fight another day and hopefully we can get him back right for Cheltenham. That’s a one-off thing – horses are entitled to fall once in their career and we hope that he doesn’t do it again.”
Read ‘Horse Talk with Simon Jackson’ at London24 for the latest horse racing news.