There’s more to Peter Moody than Black Caviar
Black Caviar taking on Royal Ascot (Image: Bronwen Healy / Bronwen Healy Photography)
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The Cups’ King, Bart Cummings, may be Australia’s most famous racehorse trainer but after the Saturday’s racing at Eagle Farm there is little doubt Peter Moody is now the best in Australia.
He is universally renowned as the trainer of Black Caviar, and led in three feature winners on Queensland racing’s biggest day. It was a landmark day for the Caulfield-based Moody.
The man from Charleville in Queensland has enjoyed a meteoric rise in horse racing. Only a decade ago, he was in charge of a small team of eight horses.
But in six weeks’ time when the 2011/12 racing season comes to a close, he will claim his third consecutive Victorian Trainer’s Premiership, beating the likes of Hayes and Freedman once again.
Before Black Caviar started her winning run in April 2009, Moody was not very well known. But among those in the racing industry, he was earmarked as an emerging trainer with a bright future.
I remember listening to Moody declare Flying Monty the best stayer he’d ever trained in the minutes leading up to a listed race she was due to contest at Caulfield in February 2009.
Flying Monty finished seventh in that race at odds of 7/1 and she only won one race after that day; retiring with modest stake earnings of just over $70,000.
It’s an indication of just how far Moody has come as a trainer.
The arrival of Black Caviar coincided with Moody’s rise to prominence in the Australian training ranks, but there’s a lot more to Moody’s success than the champion mare.
As he told the media on Saturday afternoon, “We have nearly 200 winners a year and we have done for the last three or four years and Black Caviar wins four or five of those. It’s about a lot of other horses and a lot of other effort and the wonderful support of a lot of owners”.
On Saturday, Moody won the three biggest races in Queensland: the Queensland Derby with Brambles, the Stradbroke Handicap with Mid Summer Music and the Brisbane Cup with Lights Of Heaven.
Brambles, who was so strong in the Derby, is part-owned in the same interests as Flying Monty; by a syndicate called OTI, managed by Terry Henderson and former Australian cricketing all-rounder Simon O’Donnell. As a group, OTI has the aim of winning the Melbourne Cup.
OTI also have shares in Manighar, the former English stayer that has been completely transformed under Moody in 2012. Manighar’s newfound acceleration saw him become the first horse to win the Australian Cup, Ranvet Stakes and BMW in the autumn.
Lights Of Heaven had shown plenty as a younger horse. In the early part of last year’s Spring Carnival she loomed as a key Cox Plate chance before her form waned.
On Saturday, Lights Of Heaven proved she was back to her best with a strong win in the Brisbane Cup (2400 metres).
Moody has never won a Cox Plate, Caulfield Cup or a Melbourne Cup – in fact he’s never run a place in any of those races but that duck could be broken this year. Manighar, Lights Of Heaven and Brambles are more than capable.
Mid Summer Music had her career-defining win in Saturday’s Stradbroke (1400 metres) but early on in her career Moody didn’t think she was going to make it as a racehorse.
It’s not the first time Moody has brought a horse from a low level to achieve success.
At a luncheon for the Doxa Youth Foundation in March last year, Moody spoke about taking a filly with limited ability for a race at Stawell in country Victoria so the owner could get a “photo on the wall” before the horse was moved on.
That filly, Cute Emily (who is still trained by Moody), progressed from that win at Stawell to Group Three success when she took out last year’s Sires Produce at Morphettville. With that blacktype victory under her belt, her future at stud as a broodmare was secured.
Peter Moody has the knack of getting the very best out of his horses. It’s a fantastic trait in a trainer.
In less than two weeks’ time, the world will see what he can do when Black Caviar races at Royal Ascot, but it will be in this year’s Spring Carnival that Moody can well and truly establish himself as one of the greats.
With the foundations well laid, success in the majors awaits.