Masterful Ryan Moore key to Snowfall's dominant success
A little crowd of jockeys formed around Ryan Moore as he was pulling up on Snowfall after the Musidora Stakes, making him the centre of attention – exactly the position he dislikes the most.
It appeared his weighing room colleagues were eager to quiz him about what had just happened, perhaps in the hope of gaining some crumbs of comfort to give to their connections when returning to unsaddle, having just come off distinctly second best.
Moore, lip curled upwards and face slightly scrunched, offered a few words before turning Snowfall away and heading back to the winner’s enclosure, having just executed a sublime front-running ride to capture York’s trial for the Cazoo Oaks next month on a horse everyone was expecting to fill the position of also-ran rather than headline act.
It was no doubt Moore's brilliance that drew his fellow riders towards him after the race was over. Snowfall's performance also added to the growing momentum behind Aidan O’Brien’s operation which has scooped up the 1,000 Guineas, Ormonde Stakes, Huxley Stakes, Irish 1,000 Guineas Trial and Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial in the last two weeks.
“It wasn't the plan to lead, but she took advantage of the situation and was good and smooth and went through the gears well,” Moore said, presenting himself as the passive partner in the decision.
In fact, Moore was razor-sharp. With no clear pacesetter in the field connections of Mystery Angel had detailed their intentions of leading, which she did at a sedate pace under Ben Curtis.
With Teona and Noon Star, the market protagonists for the Musidora who were expected to enhance their Oaks claims here, keen in behind, Moore decided to take matters into his own hands and went to the lead.
His pace was not that much stronger than Mystery Angel’s, but it was enough to lull his rivals into a false sense of security. When they made their moves on to the heels of Snowfall early in the home straight, Moore released the brake and began to stretch clear of his opponents. At the end, Snowfall was nearly four lengths clear of the second Noon Star, but Moore was simply out on his own.
“She always looked like a nice filly,” he said. “She showed a good attitude and picked up well. It looked like a strong race beforehand and I am very happy with her.
“She ran in all the best races last year and it didn't happen for her, but she certainly has plenty of class. I'm sure she'll be in the mix for all those big fillies' races now.”
The first of those is set to be the Cazoo Oaks, for which she was shortened to 7-1 (from 33) by Paddy Power and Betfair. Stablemate Santa Barbara heads the betting at 5-2.
Kevin Buckley, Coolmore’s UK representative, said: "We're really pleased with that. Aidan said she'll definitely go to Epsom. She's out of a full sister to Found, by Deep Impact, so there's everything there to suggest the distance won't be a problem.”
Noon Star was pushed out to 10-1 (from 8) for the Oaks and Teona to 8-1 (from 5) after they finished second and third, Teona’s performance not helped by rearing in the stalls and then being slowly away.
Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager for Noon Star’s owner Juddmonte, said: “Obviously the lack of pace was not ideal, to say the least. I don't think there's any need for any precipitous decisions at the moment. These are trials, this is what they are there for, they are sent to try us.”
Teona’s trainer Roger Varian was not giving up hope either, and said: “It's slightly unsatisfying, but I've not lost faith in the filly – I think she's very nice. Everything that could go wrong did, but on a positive note she's had a day out and will come on for the run.
“I'll speak to the owner about the Oaks, but I wouldn't be discouraged on what happened there. We live to fight another day."
Get £30 in free bets to use on horseracing when you place a £5 bet with Sky Bet, available to new customers. First single & EW bet only. Odds of 1-1 or greater. 6x £5 bet tokens. Free bet stakes not included in returns. Free bets redeemable on horse racing only. Free bets are non withdrawable. No free bet expiry. Eligibility restrictions. Full T&Cs here. 18+.