It has been a long road back for Josh Moore following two spinal injuries sustained at Plumpton in October.
That fall came aboard Botox Has, who redeemed himself when carrying the son of trainer Gary Moore to success in Fontwell’s biggest race of the season, the Royal Equestrian Bedding and Manor Elite Horsebox National Spirit Hurdle.
And if there was any doubt about the rider’s fitness and strength, they were completely erased, as he conjured a supreme ride to fight back and collar Brewin’upastorm in a deep renewal of the Grade Two contest.
Botox Has (20-1) travelled well in the two-mile affair, but looked booked for the minor honours two out as Brewin’upastorm cruised upsides Monmiral and jumped the last in front.
However, Aidan Coleman’s mount idled up the run-in and Moore’s persistent rousing of the six-year-old paid off, as he reeled in Olly Murphy’s charge, timing his ride to perfection to earn a head success in a thriller.
The winning jockey started riding out again at the beginning of January, but memories of the aftermath of his crashing fall aboard the John and Yvonne Stone-owned Botox Has, which knocked the 29-year-old unconscious, were still fresh.
“The last time I wore these colours, they were being cut off me,” he said. “It was good to get a good winner in them again.
“I sounded like an idiot beforehand, telling the owners I was hopeful. We were wrong in the weights, but I know this horse – I won a juvenile around here and I was gutted he didn’t run in the Triumph Hurdle as he was good around Cheltenham last October.
“Last year, he was just a four-year-old carrying a lot of weight in handicaps and it is hard on horses. It was just nice to run him in a small field today, give him a bit of room and while I was three-wide all the way, which is a terrible place to be around here, I just wanted to give him some comfort the whole way, and keep pressing on, because he does stay well.”
Moore, who was handed a two-day ban for his use of the whip, added: “This means a lot. Fontwell is a local track, it is their big race if the year, it’s a good prize as well, but it is very good to win on this horse, as four months ago I thought I didn’t think I’d be sitting on him again this season, that’s for sure. It is very kind of Mr Stone to let me back on him.”
An emotional Stone said: “I am more pleased for Josh than anything. I’m absolutely delighted for him.”
The trainer also looked on with understandable pride. He said: “The horse owed him that. I never lost faith in him. He will go novice chasing next year. It was nice for Josh, nice for the owners and I’m delighted for Josh, obviously.
“It means a lot. He is my son, he is my right-hand man, well, they both are. Jamie and Josh are both my right-hand men.
“What happened to him was horrible and it was two ways whether he would come back or not. It would not have surprised me if he had not packed up and taken over the yard.”
Of the winner, Moore added: “He is no mug, the horse. Last year he beat Allmankind at Cheltenham and he was 20-1 today and Allmankind was third best in the betting.
“Obviously it was a big shout going back in distance today but we knew he would stay all day and when that horse went on, you saw the guts he had to come back and take him on again.”