Ryan Moore’s reign as the world’s number one jockey is likely to come under serious pressure this weekend with his chief rival, Australian Hugh Bowman, in the thick of the action at one of the biggest racedays anywhere all year and Moore himself confined to relatively lowly fare on the other side of the world.
Bowman, the only jockey anywhere near Moore in the TRC Global Rankings, has rides in no less than SEVEN Group races at Randwick on the first day of The Championships, the mega-rich extravaganza that occupies the first two Saturdays in April. That includes four Group 1s, and the 36-year-old has fancied mounts in all of them.
Since the world rankings are based entirely on performances in Group and Graded races, this puts Moore at considerable disadvantage as he will be at Doncaster for the opening day of the British flat turf season. There are no Group races on the card.
The Englishman has been a fixture in the #1 position since the TRC Global Rankings were launched last October. Although he has ridden fairly often (and with some success) in the Far East and at Meydan over the European winter, he was always going to be vulnerable from February to April, when the Group-race action in Australia comes thick and fast.
Bowman has been greedily eating into Moore’s lead all that time, with significant success at the highest level. Last Saturday, for instance, the Ciaron Maher-trained Jameka, impressive winner of the G1 BMW (see the YouTube video above) was one of two Group winners for him at Rosehill in Sydney.
His Group-race results last week gave him a five-point gain in the TRC jockeys’ standings, and he is now just seven of those points behind Moore.
Points, of course, are hard to come by in the rarified air at the very top of the rankings, but Bowman has so many opportunities that there’s a chance he could make up all that ground on the one day.
And he has another bite at that cherry on Saturday week, the second day of The Championships. You can expect him to have a full book of major rides then too, headed by Winx’s bid to win the richest race of the lot, the A$4 million Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes, which would be her 17th victory in a row.
Moore was out of luck on Dubai World Cup night last Saturday, but two top-ten jockeys who were not were Christophe Soumillon and Joao Moreira, who both improved their positions in the rankings.
Soumillon (two G2 winners - Vazirabad in the Dubai Gold Cup and Thunder Snow in the UAE Derby) climbed one place to #5 with a four-point gain week on week, while Moreira (G1 win in the Dubai Turf on Vivlos) also gained four points. He stays at #7.
Look for another advance from Moreira next time - he’s also at Randwick on Saturday and he too has a full book of good rides.
Talking of top-ten jockeys, there was a move from another one last week - Arrogate’s rider, Mike Smith, gained three points, which means he climbs one place to #8.
Katelyn Mallyon’s rise continues
We highlighted her as a TRC Emerging Talent just a few weeks ago, and 22-year-old Katelyn Mallyon is continuing to prove that was no mistake.
The granddaughter of three-time Caulfield Cup-winning jockey Mick Mallyon was in top form at Moonee Valley on Friday, getting home by a short head to win the G1 Keogh Homes William Reid Stakes on Silent Sedition for trainer Andrew Noblet.
Mallyon, who is now world-ranked 146 (up from 197) after gaining nine points week on week, has one ride on the big card at Randwick on Saturday - on an outsider in the G1 Doncaster Mile.
Noblet is also on the move. He rises 35 places to 112 in the trainers’ standings after gaining six points over the week.
Click here for a list of the week’s biggest points gainers.
Click here for a list of the week’s group and graded winners.