Moore eyes another upset with 'underestimated' Cavalier
Cue Card and Coneygree are the hot fancies for Saturday's Betfair Chase but Jonathan Moore thinks the bookmakers have got the market wrong in underestimating his Charlie Hall winner Irish Cavalier, who he describes as the best he has ever ridden.
The jockey insisted there was no fluke about Irish Cavalier's conquering of Cue Card at Wetherby and is surprised by the general 10-1 offer about Rebecca Curtis's improving seven-year-old.
In his first season as stable jockey Moore, based in Ireland, has ridden 17 winners from 60 runners for Curtis and is out to maintain the hot streak in the Haydock Grade 1.
He said: "I've ridden some good chasers before but am getting on this fellow at the right time and he's very exciting. I think he's the best I've sat on.
"He has been underestimated in the market for the Betfair but I don't mind going into the race as an underdog and hopefully we will come up with the goods again."
Moore has won two of his three rides on Irish Cavalier, landing a valuable handicap chase at the Punchestown festival in April at odds of 20-1, being a beaten favourite on his seasonal return at Chepstow, before landing the Charlie Hall as a largely unconsidered 16-1 shot.
The 22-year-old, who has never previously ridden at Haydock, added: "I rode him out last week and he was bouncing on his toes and swishing his tail. The more runs he has the better he is and he thrives on racing."
"People have been saying Cue Card may have needed the run at Wetherby, but our fella will have improved for the race as well.
"We went a good, strong gallop and my lad was on Cue Card's heels good and early, so it wasn't as if Cue Card burned himself out or anything as I was travelling with him the whole way.
"He really ground it out and stuck his neck out at the back of the last fence and is open to improvement as well as this horse is only seven years old and people seem to be forgetting that.
“Rebecca [Curtis] says that every season he comes back into training he is a stone better. If he does that again this year he's going to be bang there with all of the good three-mile chasers.”
Richard Johnson will school Coneygree on Tuesday morning with trainer Mark Bradstock hoping the champion jockey will be free to take over from the injured Nico de Boinville on board his Cheltenham Gold Cup winner.
With De Boinville requiring surgery on a broken arm sustained in a fall at Cheltenham on Saturday, the trainer has placed Johnson at the top of his wish-list ahead of Aidan Coleman.
"Richard has won on the horse in the past so it makes sense that we use somebody who knows him well," Bradstock said. "If he is available he'd be the obvious choice, but we'll know more about his availability later in the week."
Johnson could be needed at Ascot or could take the ride on Menorah in the Betfair Chase for boss Philip Hobbs. The champion jockey said on Monday: "It's up in the air whether Menorah runs but Philip will have entries at Ascot as well. The Bradstocks have offered me the ride on Coneygree if I can take it and obviously I would love to, but it all depends on Philip."
Coneygree was a 9-4 chance with the sponsors on Monday behind 15-8 favourite Cue Card who, like Silviniaco Conti (5-1), is a two-time winner of the race. Seeyouatmidnight, God's Own, Outlander, Roi Des Francs and Vezelay are the other possibles.
Champion Hurdle runner-up My Tent Or Yours is among a maximum of six in the Betfair Price Rush Hurdle on the Haydock undercard.
The going at Haydock on Monday was good to soft, good in places, with 25mm of rain forecast to fall before the two-day meeting starts on Friday.