Moody isn’t the best until he wins the biggest

Alfred Chan Columnist

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    Melbourne’s premier trainer of the past four seasons has an impeccable CV with countless success at Group 1 level, but he is yet to win any of the spring majors. Will that change this year?

    Peter Moody has been in the racing game for a long time, having served apprenticeships under legendary trainers of yesteryear Tommy Smith and Colin Hayes.

    Bringing his wealth of knowledge to the current age, Moody is continuously rolling out winners all over the country and rarely is there a Group 1 race where he does not train one of the runners.

    Moody’s first Group 1 success came in 2001 when Amalfi won the VRC Derby. Over the next eight seasons, however, he would only net another seven Group 1s for an average of less than one per season.

    His biggest break came in the 2009/10 season when he franked his form and dominated the Victorian racing scene. In that season, Moody claimed nine Group 1s which was more in one season than his entire eight year training career. That was the first of his four Melbourne training premierships.

    While Moody may not have won any of the spring majors, he has achieved one thing that no other trainer has or will. He was the architect behind Black Caviar’s 25-0.

    One of Moody’s most regretted moments was his decision not to run Typhoon Tracey in the 2009 Cox Plate. She went to the Myer Classic instead, which she won and was name Australian Horse of the Year that season. She retired a six-time Group 1 winner.

    Spring major success was within sight last year when Lights Of Heaven ran on strongly in the Caulfield Cup but could only manage third. He entered the season with the favourite for all three major races. Manighar had won three weight-for-age Group 1s in autumn and Moody had turned the grey into a superstar following Manighar’s transfer from English trainer Luca Cumani.

    Last year Moody made a foray into Italian racing by sourcing Voila Ici, hoping he would deliver spring success. Voila Ici was a multiple Group 1 winning stayer back in Italy and showed promise upon arrival but was never able to fulfil that promise in the big races.

    Let’s take a look at Moody’s top chances for the Cups and Cox Plate:


    This former French galloper will be making his Australian debut on Saturday when he lines up in the Slickpix Stakes over 1700m. The lightly raced five year old had just seven career starts and the last of those was the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe when he finished 20 lengths behind Solemia, albeit as a three year old taking on the older horses for the first time.

    Prior to that, Kesampour looked a capable type with victory in the Group 2 Prix Greffule over 2000m for three year olds. He then went to the French Derby where he fell short by a length and finished fourth.

    It was a good move by Moody sourcing Kesampour who arrives in Melbourne much younger than many of the imports who arrive. This will give Moody plenty of time to figure out his acquisition.

    With a rating of 101, he’ll need to lift it to make the Melbourne Cup field but assuming everything goes well, he will line up in the Caulfield Cup with a manageable weight and on paper looks to be Moody’s best chance at Cup success.

    My Quest For Peace

    OTI Racing once again transferred their Melbourne Cup hope from Luca Cumani to Peter Moody on a permanent basis hoping to replicate Manighar’s success.

    Everything looked great for My Quest For Peace last year when he ran an impressive fifth in the Caulfield Cup and looked primed for the two miles on offer in the Melbourne Cup.

    Everything in the Melbourne Cup looked good for the Galileo gelding until he lost a foreplate in running and grinded home tenth; six lengths shy of the winner. It was a good run nonetheless and Peter Moody always knew there would be improvement on that effort.

    In autumn, Moody bypassed the normal Sydney and Melbourne stayer campaigns in favour of an unusual sprint campaign for My Quest For Peace. He lined up in Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m) and Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) and never looked good. The distances were too short and everything about his breeding and European form suggests he will stay all day.

    He has been nominated for the Memsie Stakes on the weekend but again, the distance will be far too short for him. With a 106 rating, he is right on the fringe of the Melbourne Cup.

    Sneak A Peek

    Resuming last Saturday when he went around in the Group 2 Warwick Stakes, Sneak A Peek ran on well late considering 1400m was too short for him.

    Prior to that, we last saw him in last year’s Caulfield Cup when he finished eighth.

    Arriving in Australia with Voila Ici, Sneak A Peek always looked to have more upside of the two. In his penultimate Italian start, Sneak A Peek won the Group 2 Premio Federico Tesio (2200m) ahead of Jakkalberry who would go on to run third in the Melbourne Cup, and Voila Ici.

    A year on, Peter Moody has probably figured out his Italian import who is nominated for both the Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate but his sire Doyen is not a proven sire of two milers. The Caulfield Cup is more realistic than the other to major races.


    Another OTI Racing venture, Lidari has been transferred to Peter Moody from France, in April. Unlike other European imports, Lidari is not a proven Group performer in Europe and was purchased as a progressive type.

    In his ten French starts, the Acclamation entire’s highest success came at Listed level. Each time he stepped up to Group class, he struggled immensely.

    The Melbourne Cup, however, is all about beating the handicapper and Lidari is the type of horse that can do so. We saw him run a few times in the autumn in open handicap class and he looked comfortable carrying bigger weight than the winners of his three starts.

    He needs to lift his rating considerably to be in contention for the Cups but he is nominated for the Epsom Handicap and Caulfield Cup so Moody is confident he can continue his progression and step up in distance.

    Time after time we have seen stayers who show promise at Listed level in France be swooped on by Australian interest because they come in very well at the weights and have proven staying capability.