Moore revives Curtis link but receives ban for Bigbad ride
Irish Cavalier was unable to keep up with Cue Card but it was still a notable day for his jockey Jonathan Moore, who thanked Rebecca Curtis for sticking by him after a new partnership that appeared at an end two months ago was resurrected by victory on Bigbadjohn in the Sodexo Reynoldstown Novices' Chase.
After teaming up with the trainer last May, Moore rode 21 winners at a strike-rate of 23 per cent, cementing a position as stable jockey when he rode Irish Cavalier to beat Menorah and Cue Card in the Charlie Hall Chase last October.
But by mid-December the association looked over with Moore having returned to Ireland, where he has a young child, and Curtis reverting to using the best jockey available.
Until Saturday, that is, when Moore announced the pair were back in harness after his first win of 2017 in either Britain or Ireland.
"I had to get myself sorted back in Ireland but Rebecca stuck by me and was very obliging when I contacted her about the whole thing," he said.
"She's been very good to me. Everything is back on track now and hopefully there will be more to come. I'm back as Rebecca's stable jockey now. It's a great start back."
Curtis said: "Jonathan went back to Ireland for a while. We did our own thing for a bit, but we'd had a really good patch before.
"He didn't move to Britain; he has a baby in Ireland so you can't expect him to. We have been speaking for a couple of weeks now and he was planning to come back after Christmas."
Irish Cavalier finished a long way behind Cue Card in fifth of the six runners, but Bigbadjohn got up in the last stride to deny Coneygree's half-brother Flintham.
Moore's winning ride, however, is set to rule him out of the first day of the Cheltenham Festival as he received an 11-day whip ban (March 4-14) and £800 fine. Stewards said he struck the horse 14 times, above the permitted level and with excessive force.
"I don't want to comment on it," said Moore. "I'll speak to my solicitor and see what happens."