Author: Duane Fonseca
Following a groundbreaking first full season based in England, partnering 42 winners, Gerald Mosse is currently taking Bahrain by storm, riding predominantly for Champion Trainer, Englishman Allan Smith. Prior to racing on Friday afternoon, the veteran Frenchman whose worldwide CV makes impressive reading in any language, has ridden 19 winners from just 31 rides, boasting an incredible 61% strike rate. Mosse said: “Obviously things are going very well and I am really enjoying my time in Bahrain. “I am riding for the strongest yard which obviously helps and we have some nice horses to look forward to competing throughout the season.”
Smith added: “We are delighted to have Gerald here this season and he has shown every week that he is a genuinely world class jockey. “We only race once a week, on Fridays, so it is a lot different to what he experienced in England throughout the summer.” Mosse, who won his first Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe aboard Saumarez way back in 1990, as well as being the most successful jockey in the history of the International Races in Hong Kong, a place he called home frequently since 1992, he rode work for Saeed bin Suroor at Al Quoz during the early part of the year. He also rode three UAE winners, including for Bin Suroor on Don’t Give Up at the Dubai World Cup Carnival, as well as one for Bahraini Fawzi Nass, Jordan Sport.
“We do not race on Thursdays in Bahrain,” Mosse added. “So I am hoping to get some rides at the carnival and some of the trainers I ride for in England will have runners, as well as trainers from Bahrain. “Hopefully there will be a few spare rides from the locally-based trainers as well and it is great to ride at Meydan which is such an amazing place.” Among his 42 winners in Europe this year, he enjoyed big race success for the likes of Ed Dunlop, Ed Walker, David Elsworth, Marco Botti, Robert Cowell, Richard Fahey, Mick Channon and Clive Cox who could all be represented at Meydan over the next three months. Obviously Mosse has experienced the clamour of many a big raceday since his riding career began some 35 years ago.
As mentioned, he won the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe for fellow young buck Nicolas Clement aboard Saumarez in 1990 and the following year guided Arazi through a faultless quintet of French Group wins before Pat Valenzuela took up the reins for the colt’s now infamous and breathtaking Breeders’ Cup Juvenile romp. The most successful jockey at the international meeting in Hong Kong, the place which has been his home on and off since 1992, Mosse has partnered such iconic names of the global racing circuit as Jim And Tonic, Sacred Kingdom and Red Cadeaux. Having ridden the last named in two of his three runner-up finishes in the Melbourne Cup, the jockey went one better when becoming the first French rider to win Australia’s most famous race, teaming up with his compatriot Alain de Royer-Dupre for a resounding victory on Americain.
His UAE record is not too shabby either, highlighted by a Group 1 Dubai Duty Free victory aboard the aforementioned Jim And Tonic for Francois Doumen in 2001. More recently he was aboard Hong Kong raider Rich Tapestry with the pair combining to land the 2016 Group 3 Al Shindagha Sprint. In short, Mosse knows the buzz like few others and is clearly determined, after Bahrain, to have a real crack at his career in Britain. “I’m a British resident now,” joked the jockey who can boast 66 Group One victories. “I live in Newmarket and what could be better being so close to two wonderful racecourses in probably the most famous training centre in Europe, if not the world.”
Mosse was certainly not an unfamiliar face on Newmarket’s training grounds anyway; in the 1990s, during his stint as the Aga Khan’s number one jockey, he could regularly be found on Newmarket Heath and on British tracks riding the owner and breeder’s horses trained by Sir Michael Stoute and Luca Cumani. And indeed only last season he appeared on occasion in Jeremy Noseda’s string during his retainership with the then fledgling, now burgeoning, Phoenix Thoroughbreds operation for whom he rode Take Me With You to finish third at Royal Ascot in the Group 3 Albany Stakes. Mosse has since been signed up by another owner with a growing Thoroughbred portfolio in British racing, Dr Johnny Hon.
Mosse continued: “I had ridden in the UK during my career but I never had the chance to be based there. Now the opportunity appeared and I’ve grabbed it. I really appreciate the opportunity given to me by Dr Johnny Hon. He has a number of horses based there and asked me to help him. He’s based in Hong Kong and that’s why we know each other. It’s a big help to be able to communicate with him about his investment and his team and to try to be part of the operation.” That team stretches to around 40 horses, most of whom are named with the ‘Global’ prefix, spread between Ed Dunlop and Gay Kelleway in Newmarket, Ed Walker and Charlie Hills in Lambourn. “I’m riding these horses as a priority but I can ride for other people as well,” Mosse explains. “I’ve been there for long enough that people have given me support over many years and I’m very grateful for that.
I have had the privilege to ride for William Haggas, Saeed bin Suroor, John Ryan, Ed Dunlop and Gay Kelleway. It makes me very pleased but to be honest I would like to ride a little bit more because sometimes I feel that I’m missing something. But I’m not greedy, I’m happy with what I have and I can always look forward to the next day.” The peripatetic nature of the lives of all top jockeys is not something Mosse has turned his back on. While his colleagues and compatriots were riding at ParisLongchamp’s Guineas meeting, Mosse travelled to Rome to win the Group 2 Premio Presidente della Repubblica aboard Royal Julius, the first time he had ridden for fellow Marseille-born trainer Jerome Reynier. “He’s a lovely young trainer and we come from the same place but we don’t know each other well,” says Mosse of Reynier, whose impressive strike rate from his southern outpost has ensured that he has growing support.
Over the years many horses who were not superstars in Europe have travelled the world with great success and provided Mosse with some great memories. “I used to ride Red Cadeaux and he wasn’t a superstar in England but when he went overseas he became a superstar,” he continued. “It was the same story with Jim And Tonic and Americain. So we’ll carry on and see if we can follow the same kind of itinerary with Royal Julius down the line.” Trainer Ed Dunlop, who has enjoyed international success with the jockey, notably through the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase win of Red Cadeaux, is delighted to be able to call on his experience in Newmarket. He said: “I think it’s very brave to relocate to England at this stage of his career; he is internationally renowned and very talented but had to learn fast about all these different tracks here.
Having Gerald in town has been very useful for me in the mornings as he has such great experience. I hope he’s enjoying it.” Mosse added: “The thing that is most difficult for the jockeys here is that they have to travel a lot. I respect people’s involvement with the horses in Britain, the tradition, the crowds, the owners, everybody makes the effort and racing has really solid support with a strong root. I believe it was probably something missing in my career so far not to be part of it.” Naturally lithe with a healthy tan and a hawk-like look that gives him an air of being constantly on guard, Mosse could quite easily pass for being at least a decade younger than he is. At 51, he has a few years on Frankie Dettori and is now mixing with weighing room colleagues not even born when he won the Arc.
“I believe it’s probably easier to join the team of jockeys here and to be accepted than in other countries,” he said. “Of course when you arrive and are new you have to find your own space but I’ve been here long enough to be able to blend in without too much trouble. I’m one of the older ones and for me it’s a privilege to challenge with the younger ones. As long as everybody can play the game, everybody will enjoy it.” On the racecourse, exiting the weighing room, Mosse is noticeable at once by the distinctive white gloves of a magician. He is clearly not the only one to believe that he still has a few tricks up his sleeve as he heads into the twilight years of what has been a magical career. “I’ve a few years left to go to the end of my trip so I definitely want to enjoy it as much as I can to the end,” he concluded. “After that will be another challenge.” Hopefully we will be able to see him weaving his magic at Meydan on a regular basis between now and Dubai World Cup night when he would love the opportunity to add a second big night winner to his 66 Group One victories, the most recent of which was in October aboard British raider, Mabs Cross, in the Prix de l’Abbaye on Arc day.