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The Racing Life of Hayley Moore

Hayley Moore has established herself as a top a TV presenter, her background and family giving her an unlimited depth of knowledge of racing.

Growing up in Brighton, where her grandfather Charlie Moore trained at the time, Hayley reminiscences about the antics she got up to with her three brothers. ‘We had lots of arguments,’ Hayley chuckles. ‘I remember throwing a metal shovel (before the plastic ones came out) at Ryan's head, as he’d always wind me up and annoy me.’

Her older brothers are no less Ryan Moore, the fabulous Flat Jockey and Jamie, a recently retired Cheltenham Festival-winning jockey, and younger brother Josh, who was forced to retire from race-riding in April 2022 through injury. Josh was assistant trainer to father Gary, who is one of the best dual-purpose trainers in the country and then they took out a joint license.

Hayley still rides out at her father’s as well as being a presenter on Sky Sports Racing. No one can forget how, on an otherwise unremarkable day on the Flat at Chepstow in July 2018, she threw herself onto the reins of a loose horse. She was dragged for a few yards but hung on and successfully brought the bolting horse to a halt – with a pat, she promptly removed the saddle – ever the professional horsewoman, who has always been around racing and racehorses.

Hayley and Tom

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Around 2008, the Moore training enterprise moved to their current base of Gisswood Racing Stables, near Horsham, nearby to which Hayley, 37, still lives. Her partner is Flat jockey Tom Queally, who rode the wonder horse Frankel in his unbeaten fourteen-race career. In December 2022, they welcomed their daughter Alice to the world and have a ‘lovely’ springer spaniel, George.

How horsey was your childhood? I had a really horsey childhood. On ponies, I just wanted to keep up with Jamie and Ryan. We always had a really nice collection of ponies; I had the hand-me-downs from my brothers, which were lovely.

At school, I used to brag to everyone that one of my ponies starred in The Secret Garden film. One of our owners had some sort of involvement with its production, and it was his daughter’s. We ended up having him with the provision was that he always had to go back to Yorkshire for filming. He was a little grey Welsh Mountain and Moorland called George and really was the best film star pony. He didn't like show jumping but was fantastic at gymkhana games.

My mum ran a livery stables right opposite Brighton racecourse – we were always watching racing whilst on our ponies. We spent a lot of time going to the races, watching Dad riding in races.

What was it like being the only girl with three brothers? I always wanted a baby sister but Josh came along – I wasn't disappointed for long because he turned out all right!

I could keep up with the boys whilst riding a pony and, on a Saturday, I'd get dropped off at ballet lessons; I always did girly things like netball. I was a little bit of a tomboy – I still wore dresses but was happy to put on sports kits too. I always watched Josh play football and took the family golden Labrador for a walk in the field behind the pitch so Mum could keep an eye on me.

Which brother did you get on with the best? As I was growing up, I got on better with Jamie, then later on I got on better with Josh because we were closer in age, plus Josh was always kinder. I guess us younger siblings palled up together.

Ryan was always telling us what we'd be doing, where we’d be going, what ride we’d be going on… We had lots of freedom and would go off for hours across the South Downs to Lewes, with no mobile phones. Ryan would lead, Jamie was in the middle and I was at the back. We’d jump logs and it was good fun and very different to how it is nowadays. Josh was a bit slower to start riding but he caught up.

Do you have a standout moment watching your brothers riding? Watching Ryan win the Eclipse on Notnowcato on the TV. I was 16, and remember thinking, wow, he's won a really big race and that he was incredible. The way he won in dramatic circumstances was amazing. Even then, Ryan had walked the course and Channel Four Racing had videoed when he'd gone over to the hedges. I just remember hearing John Francome explaining that's why Ryan was so good as he'd gone out and walked the course. Another real standout of Ryan's was when he won the Derby on Workforce – that was another amazing occasion.

When Jamie won the Champion Chase on Sire De Grugy in 2014.

The one occasion with Josh was when he won the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury on Violet Dancer- he gave it such a good ride; it was another incredible day.

Were you a jockey? I was always keen to be a jockey like my mum, who rode successfully as an amateur. At 33, she got her amateur licence out after having four kids, which was completely bonkers. I think I do well to ride out now! I’d always go racing with Mum, sit in the weighing room while she got changed then I'd go out to watch her. One day, we were at the July Course, Newmarket and she'd always say if anything happened to her just to go to the Clerk of the Scales and say that I was there. In a big runner field, a pile up occurred and Mum ended up on the floor. Thankfully, she was OK.

So, I rode on the Flat and over jumps and I competed in this series called the Fegentri World Championship, where we rode all around the globe. I had a very amateur career – I think my dad, having been there and done it, meant he wasn't keen on that for his daughter. Yet, things have massively changed in the last fifteen years. Women have done really well and haven't struggled to make a career from being a jockey.

Best days in racing so far: Personally, when I won the Longines Handicap Stakes for lady amateurs at Ascot – I tried to win it a few times with no luck, then I won it for Kevin Ryan. I remember feeling chuffed because I felt I had given it a good ride! I didn't mess up; I guess, I always lacked confidence. That was on Captain Ramius in 2011 and then, I won it the following year on Redvers. I thought it was ironic that after wanting to win it but never doing so, then winning it twice in a row.

Worst days in racing so far: The worst day was when Josh broke his back in October 2021. We’d literally just run the London Marathon together for Riding for the Disabled. We lined up and run it in three hours – Josh was really annoyed that he didn't do in sub-three hours. A week later, he broke his back and we were devastated. It was eight days until they were able to operate on him. I was there at Plumpton reporting that day – it didn't look good but we didn't know the enormity of it. I was just terrified of something going wrong. Another time, I was at Lingfield and watched as Josh had another awful fall at Haydock. I‘m really pleased he’s gone into training with Dad. There's still a risk with Jamie and Ryan but it hasn't been like it was with Josh.

Do you prefer Flat or National Hunt? In the peak of summer, I'm absolutely loving the Flat but when it’s the middle of the winter, I'm back on track and loving the jumping. I've noticed the jumps are slightly easier going and people are under less pressure; it's a bit easier business when no stallions are made over jumps.

Favourite racecourses: Ascot is an obvious big one because it's both Flat and jumps. There are terrific tracks that are kept in great nick. The facilities are a step ahead of any other racecourse and they keep owners happy as well as jockeys and stable staff. The staff, especially the bowler hat people, are all lovely and it really is an amazing racecourse.

A smaller, really fun track is Plumpton.

Favourite meeting: I love the strong tradition of Royal Ascot.

How did you get into TV broadcasting? When I was fourteen, I did a week’s work experience in TV, working in production. I also always liked the theatre, so I was interested in that as well. My work experience with Satellite Information Services, which, in the old days, was the racing channel. The guy in charge recommended I did my A-Levels and learn to drive, so I did that. I started making the tea, did on-course running, behind the scenes like production assisting – I learnt a lot about how to run a programme. I took up the opportunity to travel some horses aboard and then I ended up going in front of the camera.

I got some presenting off the back of being involved with a competition to find Britain’s first female commentator, which I won. But it's a really hard job – I wasn't talented enough to go down that route and figured that I was having a good day when I was the winner. I ended up doing some on-course presenting on At The Races – one thing escalated to another.

Generally, what does racing coverage do well? I like the pace at which it's done, how it bounces around and is structured. I think, on the whole, Sky Sports Racing makes it really fun, especially how they get the stories across. Likewise, Racing TV do really detailed analysis.

Where could improvements be made? I wish there could have more allotted time because Racing TV have so much racing on their channel. They have some of the best presenters, but sometimes viewers never get to see them live. Plus, training winners is hard and to have every victory covered on TV would be far better. A lot of good presenting goes unrecognised as there's not enough time to cover everything. It’s frustrating that there's not a better balance. Having one channel and spaced-out races would be better.

Which broadcaster do you admire? Peter O'Sullivan for his brilliant commentaries. He was a kind and supportive man. After that competition to find the first female commentator, he sent me a card to say, ‘well done and to keep it up’. What an amazing man to take the time to send it.

Most memorable days broadcasting so far: I really love working at the bigger meetings and did so, especially, when I first started off. I interviewed Stuart Broad at Epsom. It was cool to interview such a cricketing legend.

Favourite meal: All of Tom's cooking, but especially when he makes a lovely fish pie.

Favourite drink: Lucozade.

Favourite holiday destination: South of France.

Other hobbies/interests: I manage the odd hour playing tennis – I'm really bad but I try hard.

Favourite film: The Lion King.

Favourite book: I tend to just read The Telegraph nowadays by downloading it daily to my iPad.

Favourite music: I listen to music all the time. At the moment, I'm a bit obsessed with Stephen Sanchez, who's like a young Elvis. I came across him when he joined Elton John on the stage at Glastonbury.

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