Gentilldonna’s Japan Cup crowns superb international year for Ryan Moore

Gentildonna (r) just holds on

Gentildonna (r) just holds on

Ryan Moore had to settle for a comfortable second place in the flat jockeys’ championship this season, but he’s more than made up for that with some major successes in some of the biggest international races. Yesterday he showed all his skills to coax Gentildonna home in the Japan Cup in Tokyo, enabling his mount to become the first dual winner of the race.

It was a close run thing, as the pair finished just a nose in front of her half sister Denim And Ruby. Deep Impact, a Triple Crown winner in Japan, sired both. Moore is over in Japan on a three-month contract with the Japan Racing Association, and benefited here from Gentildonna’s regular jockey Yasunari Iwata losing the ride after three Group 1 race defeats on the four-year-old filly this year. Moore thought Iwata had done as well as anyone could have done in those runs, saying, “She had very stiff competition. She started the year in Dubai and she got beat by a very good horse, St Nicholas Abbey. Maybe in her run in Kyoto the ground was a bit too soft. Last out wasn't a bad run. She got beat by a very good horse. Her form was there."

The race was a stop start affair, which Moore said did not really suit his horse. He had to rein her in early on, something that helped him keep her covered up until the final straight. He explained how the race unfolded. “I just wanted to keep it as smooth as possible but it was an ugly race and they went very slow, with lots of horses fighting for their heads. She took me into the race very well and I was always looking to go in towards the fence, but we probably got there a little bit sooner than I’d have liked.”

Victory on Gentildonna climaxed a season in which Moore has ridden many top winners overseas, starting in March with Lines Of Battle in the UAE Derby at Meydan, and doubling up in Group 1 races at both Arlington in August and at The Breeders’ Cup earlier this month. Add to that top races in France and Canada, and when he eventually does take a holiday, Moore will have much to look back on with satisfaction in 2013.

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