JOCKEY Gerald Mosse is one of the most successful riders in the world and on Saturday he is aiming to lead Team Europe to victory in the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup.
The Frenchman has won a stack of big races worldwide and twice claimed the Alistair Haggis Silver Saddle for top rider in seven appearances at the Shergar Cup.
We spoke to Mosse about life in Britain, what it is like riding at the Shergar Cup and his hopes for some of the best horses he has been associated with this season.
You have ridden all around the world and are now based in Britain due to your retainer with owner Dr Johnny Hon. How are you finding it?
Always in my career I wanted to come and race in Britain. The opportunity came up to do so and I grabbed it. I’m really very pleased to be here and I’ve enjoyed the few months I’ve had here so far. I’m looking to get better and better and I will be here at least until next year.
How does riding in Britain differ to the other places you have been based?
It’s a different experience. There are a lot of very good tracks, horses, jockeys and horsemanship in general is probably the best in the world. The only two difficult parts are the travelling, which is the same for everyone because the roads are awful. The other part is the prize-money. The return is a joke.
What is it about prize-money levels that upsets you?
Compared to everywhere else in the world you need a champion horse or you have to sell your horse to get any money. It’s very tough otherwise. You have the best horses, the best horsemanship, very good tracks but it’s not fair for the owners to get what they do. They deserve more races with better prize-money. Yes, it’s an expensive sport and a beautiful sport but I believe everyone who invests their money does expect some back at some stage.
Looking at the weekend, you captain the Europe team at the Shergar Cup. How are you feeling about it all?
I’m always excited to ride at nice racecourses. This is not my first Shergar Cup and one of the best things is the crowd that comes. I’ve won the Silver Saddle before and I’m very pleased to be back.
The Shergar Cup is a team competition. What is it like competing in that way?
When we ride we are a team but when you are in a race everyone is trying their hardest to win. You have to treat is like any other race – you do your research and try to find the strengths and weaknesses of the other horses. The difference is if you don’t win you want your team to. I hope it’s going to be a great show and that everyone will enjoy it.
What is more important to you on Shergar Cup day: winning the Silver Saddle for top jockey or your team winning?
If you perform good as an individual then your team win, so it’s one and the same really.
Away from Ascot, Sir Dancealot has been a star for you this term. Is he Group 1 class?
He’s a real good one. He is a Group 1 horse for sure, absolutely. They are very strong races but he has all the attributes to win a big one. I think the Hungerford Stakes at Newbury is next and I would be confident of his chances in this race.
Royal Intervention is another who has excelled for you this season. Is there more to come from her?
She will keep growing and improving. I would not give up on her at all. She will go on to do well this year and next. I think she’s a very talented filly.
And, finally, looking ahead you have won the Melbourne Cup before. What does a horse need to succeed in Australia’s most famous race?
It’s a wonderful race and I hope I can find a ride. You need a horse who stays very well and also one who can accelerate, if you do not have that you cannot win. They also have to be able to travel anywhere in the race. The other main thing is the handicap. You want a weight of 55kgs or less otherwise it’s very tough to win. If you have all those things then you will go very close.