Ryan Moore is a phenomenon.
The 33-year-old rider has just been officially recognised for the second time in three years as the best jockey in the world.
He is a star in his native Britain but also in Japan, Hong Kong, Ireland, America, Australia and other racing countries too.
Tomorrow (Sunday, December 11) he partners three favourites and a third favourite in the four LONGINES Hong Kong International Races on turf at Sha Tin.
Three of them are trained in Japan – Big Arthur (LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint), Neorealism (LONGINES Hong Kong Mile) and Maurice (LONGINES Hong Kong Cup) – while Highland Reel, trained by Aidan O’Brien in Ireland, races for his Coolmore retainer in the LONGINES Hong Kong Vase.
Moore has a Japanese agent and translator, which has helped to smooth the process and enabled him to achieve great results in Japan.
On Friday night, he was presented with the LONGINES World’s Best Jockey Award and has now won the trophy in two of the three years it has existed. He was the inaugural winner in 2014 after gaining five of the top 100 Group or Grade One winners around the world, had to give way to Frankie Dettori in 2015 but still finished joint second that year and took the glory with eight victories in the top 100 G1s in 2016.
Moore is not the easiest person for the media to interview. He acknowledged this in a round of seven interviews after his success on Friday during the LONGINES Hong Kong International Races Gala Dinner.
“I am not good with talking, I would rather be riding!”
But he did reveal some information.
He said: “Every race is important and we try to do as well as we can as often as we can. I have been very lucky – I have got to ride some great horses this year and I ride for a fantastic operation (Coolmore). Obviously, the Arc (Found) is always special and the King George (Highland Reel) is an important race to me.
“There have been many good days. I got to start with my father, rode for Richard Hannon at a young age and I learnt an awful lot with Sir Michael (Stoute) – it is lovely I still ride for him.
“Now working with Aidan (O’Brien) more and the Coolmore team – it is the most professional outfit that you are going to find – I am in a very good place.”
His advice to fledgling jockeys is: “Stay grounded, concentrate on being the best you can and picking up as much advice from people and listening. Just feel your way and be a good person.
“Racing is a very tough sport and getting yourself motivated when the horses aren’t so good is tough.
“Keeping your weight in check and keeping yourself in good shape and everything else that goes with the sport is hard for a lot of people.
“My advice is to work hard and respect the people you are working with and respect the horses – all you can do is try your best and keep going.”
He acknowledged: “I am very lucky to ride a lot of good horses and it is about those horses really. I am in a very privileged position and thankful for that.
“I get to ride at the highest level and there is always plenty to look forward to on the big days. I enjoy them, I enjoy riding the best horses and I am in the fortunate position where they are there to me.
“It is great winning this award again. Obviously, I have to thank Longines, the Hong Kong Jockey Club and the IFHA.”
“Every race, I just see how it pans out – you have to make decisions quickly – do what you feel is right.”
What have horses taught him?
“Patience – you need patience with horses.”
In the film, which introduced his award, numerous jockeys such as Frankie Dettori, Hugh Bowman, Christophe Soumillon, Christophe Lemaire, Joao Moreira, Yutaka Take, Mike Smith and Keita Tosaki paid tribute to Moore.
“It was very kind – I wasn’t expecting that. It was nice, a bit overwhelming.
“My favourite course is Newmarket, because it is close to home! You always think about races and tracks, everything comes into play. There are many factors, there are just so many angles.
“You have to ride the horse first and I think riding good horses is the biggest factor in my success.
“I am really looking forward to Sunday – I have some nice rides and it is always a big week and a nice way to finish the year.
“Highland Reel and Maurice (both successful last year in LONGINES Hong Kong International Races) seem in good shape so hopefully they will run well. I don’t have any expectations – it is a horse race and we will work it out as we go.
“Highland Reel is very well trained and is obviously a horse with a great constitution, handles travel and handles racing.
“Maurice is a high-class horse. He has shown for nearly two years now that he is a very good horse and I think it will probably be his last start on Sunday so I look forward to riding him.”