In the second part of our new podcast series for lockdown, Betfair Ambassador Ryan Moore sat down with Gary O'Brien to reflect on the highs and lows of last year. Gary talks us through the key points here...
"Had his career continued on the right path the jockey has no doubt that all the ingredients were there for him to have developed into 'a serious sprinter', maybe even one of the greats."
By his own admission Ryan Moore isn't really one for looking back, preferring instead to focus on the big prizes that lie ahead to be targeted with the plethora of good horses he will have at his disposal when racing does finally get the green light to resume.
However the lockdown afforded us a little time to reflect on another successful year in 2019, one that saw the likes of Magical and Japan star on the Group 1 stage on multiple occasions and the redoubtable Magic Wand finally make the breakthrough at the highest level in the Mackinnon Stakes.
All memorable in their own way but - in common with so many top sportsmen - Moore's inclination is not to dwell on the marquee victories that were achieved but rather the one (or in this case possibly more) that got away, as perhaps the most interesting takeaway from our conversation concerned former star two year-old Ten Sovereigns.
You can listen here:
Could have been one of the great sprinters
Sure, we all remember that career-defining performance when making virtually all to justify strong market support in the July Cup (pictured below) but there remains an unmistakeable sense of regret that the son of No Nay Never ultimately failed to fulfil his immense potential in what would be his second and final season in competition.
The Newmarket tour de force would be his only win in five starts at three, and while it is easy enough to overlook the two defeats that preceded it - in particular his non-staying fifth when sent off favourite for the 2000 Guineas - what followed is difficult to reconcile with the brilliance he showed in the midsummer showpiece.
Moore's view is that the Nunthorpe Stakes - in which he bombed as 13/8 favourite - was in hindsight probably the wrong race for Ten Sovereigns, and that he "wasn't himself at all" when trailing home last in the hugely valuable Tab Everest at Randwick in October. Had his career continued on the right path the jockey has no doubt that all the ingredients were there for him to have developed into 'a serious sprinter', maybe even one of the greats.
France once again the target for Japan
It's clear from the way he speaks of him that Japan is a horse Moore is particularly fond of, and that little the Galileo colt achieved last season came as a surprise to those around him.
He may have ultimately come up a little short behind Waldgeist in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, but looking back his partner feels he may have gone in pursuit of Enable earlier than ideal and that the bare form mightn't do him full justice. A repeat bid in the Longchamp showpiece is the long-term objective for 2020 and you get the feeling Moore expects big things granted a clear run with him this term.
Exciting future ahead for dad's Goshen
The gut-wrenching final flight exit of his father's Goshen when set to blitz his rivals in Cheltenham's Triumph Hurdle may have been placed firmly in perspective by subsequent events off the track but the performance he was in the process of producing has understandably got many excited about what the future could hold for the leading juvenile.
True to form, Moore refuses to get carried away just yet, suggesting that taking on the established top hurdlers next term will be an entirely different challenge to proving himself best of his own age group.
However, while admitting it is unlikely to happen this year it was interesting to hear him concede that the prospect of one day riding the son of Authorized in a top flat handicap like the Ebor is an enticing one - though for would-be antepost punters a note of caution is sounded by his assertion that easy ground may well be a prerequisite.
Check out our first Lockdown Lowdown podcast here, as Kevin Blake sat down with Joseph O'Brien to discuss his career to date