Your father Gary is a salt of the earth grafter with an amazing work ethic, one that appears to have rubbed off on his children. What’s it like working for him at Cisswood stables?
He’s very easy to work with. Though it was a lot harder ten years ago, when he might have had a go at us, but nothing more than that. He’s softer nowadays, very fair, and he and my Mum have brought us up the right way.
A lot of the staff like him because he wouldn’t ask them to do a job he wouldn’t do himself, like mucking out or grooming. He’ll turn his hand to anything that needs doing and the staff respect that.
If Dad was a builder you’d want him to build your house because he’d have it done in half the time – he’d be at it from dawn till dusk. He’s a very hard worker and I just wish he’d slow down a bit. He still plays squash twice a week and rides out, sometimes three lots. He’s a good example to all of us.
How important is your mother, Jayne, in keeping you and all the Moore clan – including brothers Ryan, Joshua and sister Hayley – on the right path?
Without Mum the yard wouldn’t be running the way it is and we wouldn’t be where we are – any of us. She is a very intelligent lady, she was a school teacher and a nurse and I reckon she could have been a lawyer.
Always well clued up, she sorts out our problems and is very helpful with finance and things like that. She handles the secretarial work along with her sister Maria.
Grandad Charlie, a second hand car salesman and trainer, was a much-loved character around Brighton. As a kid you were listed in Charlie’s tack room under ‘L Dettori’ where Ryan was ‘L Piggott’. Was there lots of banter in those early days and were you always destined to become a jockey?
I still miss my grandad and I wish he was here to see the way everything has turned out, but he’d have gone mad when Dad bought the new yard because he’d have thought it far too expensive.
He was the funniest man I’ve ever known, famous for the brilliant one-liners he used to come out with. He was an absolute character. He was very hard on people but would always give them a Murray mint straight after a bollocking. He was harder on my Dad than Dad has been on us.
Even people he sacked turned up at his funeral; that’s how much they thought of him. I knew I wanted to be a jockey from the age of four, and Ryan and I used to race ponies and did most things together. But in those early days Ryan wasn’t sure he wanted to be a jockey.
You had a spell working for Martin Pipe when you became champion conditional. How different was the experience compared with being under the guidance of your Dad and why did you leave Pond House?
When I went there I couldn’t believe how easy work was. It was like a holiday camp with 7.30 starts, an absolute doddle compared with starting at about five o’clock with Dad. I was amazed how effortless it appeared to be to train racehorses at Pond House. I
was used to watching my Dad working away all hours doing this and that, but at Pipe’s the delegating seemed much better and I thoroughly enjoyed myself there. I rode about 67 winners in two years for Mr Pipe, but then things weren’t going great so I opted to leave.
What were the most important lessons you learned during your time at Martin Pipe’s?
I learnt an unbelievable amount, the most important being ‘keep things simple’. I was staggered how successful Mr Pipe was by just keeping the whole operation running in the simplest possible way.
A lot of the time people are inclined to over-complicate things, whereas he kept things very straightforward with such fantastic results.
Your big-race successes on Sire De Grugy and Al Co in the Scottish National have catapulted you into the public eye. Nigel Twiston-Davies has now called on your services, saying you are “one of the best around”, and you ride for Peter Bowen and your father. Is this your big chance to establish yourself among the elite jockeys?
It’s certainly more of a chance to show I can do it, but I wouldn’t class myself as an elite jockey by any means; there are only two, AP and Dickie (Johnson). I just want to ride more winners than I did last season and keep progressing. I see it as an opportunity to get on better horses.
Riding a horse like Sire De Grugy over fences must be extra special. Can you explain the feeling and, in your opinion, has he made you a better jockey?
It’s amazing how easy it is on such a very good horse, he answers everything you ask him with the minimum of effort. He does the job for you. He used to be keen, but now he falls asleep in a race; I wake him up about three out and he comes hard on the steel. He is keen to do so much for you without you having to really ask him.
I was so looking forward to riding him on his comeback at the Cheltenham Open meeting and couldn’t believe it when he had his setback. I think he hurt himself when he was rolling in the sandpit and he called out to me as if to say, ‘Come and get me, I’ve done something to myself’.
I normally ride him every day and when he sees me coming across the yard he calls me; there is a bond between us I’ve never had with any other horse. I adore him and he trusts me.
Hopefully he’ll be back for the Game Spirit Chase at Newbury in February and then defend his crown in the Champion Chase at Cheltenham. I don’t think he’s necessarily made me a better jockey, I think I’ve just improved with experience like all jockeys do. Andrew Thornton keeps telling me, ‘You can’t beat experience!’
Your ride on Sire De Grugy in the Queen Mother Champion Chase was widely praised, but was there any point in the build-up or the race itself when the pressure got to you?
The pressure got to me more before the Tingle Creek last season because I’d been on The Morning Line that morning and it did my head in. Being on the telly wound me up too much, I got in a state and don’t want to do that again. At Cheltenham I kept turning down interviews because I just wanted to focus on the race.
I was excited more than nervous and knew this was my big chance of a first winner at the Festival. Usually I keep pretty cool and have been around long enough not to get gee-ed up. But I wouldn’t mind being as cool as Ryan; he’s got ice in his veins.
A hip injury means that we won’t see Sire De Grugy until February at the earliest. How confident are you that he can return at the same level as last season and serve it up to Sprinter Sacre?
I am very confident. Last year he was working okay but this time, after having chips removed from a fetlock in the summer, he was working better than ever. That’s why I was so gutted and his setback was so hard to take.
I think he will be every bit as good when he comes back. He’s run against Sprinter Sacre before and served it up to him and I’d love to see them meet again.
In your earlier years you said setbacks easily got you down? Are you a different Jamie Moore these days, and if so why?
Like any young jockey you get down when things go wrong and you’re getting beat. Of course, it’s always hard to take when you feel nothing’s going right, but with experience you learn to live with it better and tell yourself you’ve been there before.
You just deal with it. But I have to say the Sire De Grugy setback has hit me harder than any other disappointment I’ve had in the game.
Does being married to your school sweetheart Lucie and having two young children, Lola and Roxy, give you a different outlook on life?
All I want is to see the kids smile as I open the front door when I get home after racing. At least two people in the world like me, even after a bad day. I’ve been with Lucie since we were 15 and we’ve been through thick and thin; she knows me inside out and what I’m thinking all the time.
She sees things from a different perspective from outside the racing bubble and that’s often a big help.
What do you make of the widely used ‘best jockey in the world’ description of brother Ryan? Do you agree?
I think he’s the best, and the press keep saying so. I know he’s flattered, even embarrassed, by all the praise. Ryan’s the only jockey that rides in most of the top racing countries round the world and wins their big races. He goes worldwide, delivers the goods wherever he is, and you can’t do any better than that.
Ryan will ride the same in a 0-75 round Kempton on a Tuesday night as he would in the Melbourne Cup. He treats every race as just a race; it doesn’t matter where it is. As I’ve said, he has ice in his veins. For me, yes, he is the number one in the world.
How often do you talk and are you each other’s worst critic?
We speak most days but when he’s away in somewhere like Japan we’ll text each other, though that can be tricky when there is a big time difference. We have always been very close; he knows what I’m feeling and I know what he’s feeling.
Having said that, Josh and Hayley and all of us get on well together and I do chat with Josh a lot.
Occasionally, Ryan and I discuss each other’s riding, but, if you’re worth anything, you don’t need telling if you’ve messed up. We both know when things have gone wrong. We might discuss it but he’d never tear me off a strip.
Your Dad told this magazine in 2008 that Ryan “should get out and enjoy himself a bit more, like Jamie does”. Do you still like to have a good time away from the track and is it important to let your hair down now and then?
I’m no party animal. I Iike to spend time with the kids and do enjoy myself when we’re away from racing. I’m a happy, easy-going sort of fellow and if I’m doing a bit of shopping or going out to dinner that’s always fine by me. But I am not a big drinker, none of us are.
The life of a top Flat jockey is somewhat more glamorous than that of his jumping counterpart. Do you ever feel jealous when you see Ryan jetting off round the world bagging big races?
Not jealous at all, I’m just very proud of him. I know he finds it hard being away from Michelle and their three kids, sometimes for as much as three months in a year. I’d find that tough as well.
At the end of the day, he’s earning big bucks and that’s great, but it’s at the cost of missing out on family time when the kids are growing up.
I know the press want him to be this and that and to shout his mouth off in front of the cameras. But I think he handles himself well. He is an admirable person and, for me, he does the right thing for the sport.
You partnered a four-year-old called Stonegate, trained by your father, to win a bumper by 19 lengths at Sandown on his debut in November. Is he a future star?
We won the race with Stonegate’s full-brother Megastar, who went on to win the Grade 2 Aintree bumper. Sire De Grugy was second in the race and so we do seem to run our better horses there.
Stonegate did it very nicely, but I don’t think he beat an awful lot and it was probably one of the lesser Sandown bumpers. But he could do no more than win as he did and hopefully he has a very bright future.
Finally, why is your nickname ‘Geezer’ in the weighing-room?
I suppose it might be because I use a bit of Cockney rhyming slang. But to be honest, I don’t know who gave me the name or how it started.