Sunday 29 December 2019

Gary Moore: Made of Sterner Stuff

Gary L. Moore, not to be confused with the Australian trainer Gary Moore, is the son of the late Charlie Moore, a car salesman-turned-trainer, from whom he took over at Ingleside Racing Stables, Woodingdean, opposite Brighton Racecourse, in 1997. Moore Jnr left school at 14 to work for his father and subsequently became a jump jockey. In a 17-year career, he rode over 200 winners, mainly ordinary horses at his local tracks of Fontwell, Folkestone and Plumpton.

Folkestone Racecourse, of course, closed ‘temporarily’ in 2007, the same year as Gary and his wife, Jayne, relocated to Cissinghurst Stables in Lower Beeding, near Horsham, West Sussex. Nevertheless, Gary continues to be leading trainer, year after year, at Fontwell and Plumpton although, on the whole, the quality of the horses is much higher than it was in is early days as a trainer.

His biggest success, so far, came at the Cheltenham Festival in 2014, when Sire De Grugy – who’d already won the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown and the Clarence House Chase at Ascot – justified favouritism in the Queen Mother Champion Chase. Confidently ridden by Gary’s son, Jamie, the eight-year-old led just after the second last fence and was driven clear on the run-in to beat Somersby by 6 lengths.

It’s worth remembering, though, that Gary Moore had already had a Cheltenham Festival winner a decade earlier, when Tikram won the Mildmay of Flete Challenge Cup under Timmy Murphy. On the Flat, he also won the March Stakes at Goodwood with Mourilyan in 2009 and the Queen Alexandra Stakes at Royal Ascot with Bergo in 2010.

Both winners were ridden by his eldest son, Ryan.

As far as prospects for the Cheltenham Festival in 2018 are concerned, Moore is considering running his unbeaten chaser Benatar, whom he described as “very talented”, in the Pendil Novices’ Steeple Chase at Kempton on February 24 en route to the JLT Novices’ Chase or the RSA Chase. Sussex Ranger, who won his first two starts over hurdles before finishing second, beaten 1½ lengths, behind We Have A Dream in the Future Champions Finale Hurdle at Chepstow in January heads for the Triumph Hurdle. However, Moore warned, “He probably won’t be winning it…but that’s where he goes.”

Known as something of a workaholic, Moore once said, “My father always said no-one gives you anything in life – you have to work for it. That is what I have hopefully done.” Having worked at the industrial coalface of horse racing for most of his life, few would argue that Gary Moore fully deserves his position as one of the most successful dual purpose trainers in the country.