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.

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    The Crowd Says (12)

    • Columnist

      August 28th 2013 @ 7:53am
      Geoff Parkes said | August 28th 2013 @ 7:53am | ! Report

      Hi Alfred

      Absolutely agree with your premise. Nobody can knock what Moody has done but he has a massive hole in his CV. Not sure he’s going to fill it this season but surely at some future point he will win a major.

    • Columnist

      August 28th 2013 @ 7:55am
      Cameron Rose said | August 28th 2013 @ 7:55am | ! Report

      I’m not sure about Typhoon Tracy not going to the Cox as a regret Alfred.

      A classy mare to be sure, she was questionable at anything over a mile, and even the 1600m in open WFA found her out.

      Her record over 1600m + in open company was 6: 1-3-0, with the win in a six horse Futurity.

      One thing about Moody is that he’s extremely realistic, and knows when to change course with a horse when they aren’t quite up to what he originally thought. Very pragmatic man.

      But you’re right, there is a gaping hole in his CV right now. Now that Black Caviar has been retired and he doesn’t have the stress and peripheral issues that come with training her, I’m sure he’s going to focus a lot of energy on the majors.

      Very interested to see where Kesampour sits in the market for the Slickpix. If he’s firm in the market, it might be worth throwing a few dollars on him for the Caulfield in the expectation of a big run and slashed odds.

      • Columnist

        August 28th 2013 @ 6:39pm
        Alfred Chan said | August 28th 2013 @ 6:39pm | ! Report

        Typhoon Tracy would have needed to beat a pretty handy horse named So You Think in he 2009 Cox Plate. That’s probably easier to say In hindsight since we know how darn good So You Think was. He put two and a half length on Manhattan Rain and Zipping that day.

        During Moody’s interview when he announced Typhoon Tracy’s retirement, he said, “I really regret her not running in the Cox Plate. That’s one of my biggest regrets in racing not giving her that chance.”

        I’m eagerly awaiting to see how Kesampour steps out on the weeked but if Prince Cheri gets a start in the Slickpix, I think he’ll be too good for them.

        • Columnist

          August 28th 2013 @ 8:33pm
          Cameron Rose said | August 28th 2013 @ 8:33pm | ! Report

          Strange call from Moody in that case. She’d need to have done a Bradbury to get close to winning a Cox Plate. Maybe he meant from a connections point of view, because she had no hope at the time. If you can’t beat Vigor over a mile and Heart of Dreams over 1800m, you weren’t winning a Cox Plate, and hindsight has nothing to do with it.

        • Roar Guru

          August 28th 2013 @ 11:42pm
          Trent Masenhelder said | August 28th 2013 @ 11:42pm | ! Report

          Agree with Cameron – TT was a gun mare but up to a mile and no horse in the land, or abroad for that matter, would’ve got near So You Think in ’09 (especially given the weight relief for being a 3YO). Surprising that Moody would say that.
          Very good point about him missing a few trophies in the cabinet…and I’m sure he’s aware of it and would love for nothing else but to get his hands on one or a few of them shortly. As Cameron said, now with BC in the breeding barn, maybe he can concentrate on winning some of the big ones. But…it won’t be with any of the aforementioned horses in my opinion. I’m quite certain Darren Weir (Puissance De Lune), Mark Kavanagh (Atlantic Jewel), Lloyd Williams (Green Moon, Sea Moon, etc), Murray Baker (It’s A Dundeel), etc, aren’t currently being kept awake at night by Moody’s stayers.
          That could all change as the spring unfolds and hopefully for Peter, one of the best characters in racing, it does. He’s too good a trainer not to claim at least one of the big three, I just don’t think this will be his year.
          With ‘Nelly’ enjoying retirement, Moody has labelled Moment Of Change his flag bearer. With $700,000 in the bank and a Group One to his name, he’s a quality galloper, but not a star. I suspect Moody will continue to dominate through weight of numbers (i.e. Listed, G2&3 races), rather than getting his hands on some of the majors.

    • Roar Guru

      August 28th 2013 @ 9:02am
      Will Sinclair said | August 28th 2013 @ 9:02am | ! Report

      I have no doubt that it’s only a matter of time before Moody lands one of the big races, and I think once he does the floodgates will open.

      For mine, the stunning improvement in Manighar after Moody took him over – from Luca Cumani, who is no mug – just reinforced my opinion that he’s a very special trainer.

      Might not be this season though…

      • Columnist

        August 28th 2013 @ 10:03am
        Cameron Rose said | August 28th 2013 @ 10:03am | ! Report

        Good post Will.

        Even better is your picture. Looks like me after once again backing something at good each-way odds for a nice 4th!

        • Roar Guru

          August 28th 2013 @ 2:02pm
          Will Sinclair said | August 28th 2013 @ 2:02pm | ! Report

          You’re cutting too close to the bone there, Cam!

          Last weekend I backed FOUR horses for the place at reasonable odds, and every single one of them – all FOUR – ran less than a head fourth.

          I’ve never seen anything like it.

      • Roar Guru

        August 28th 2013 @ 11:45pm
        Trent Masenhelder said | August 28th 2013 @ 11:45pm | ! Report

        Excellent point Will re Manighar. A real shame his form has tapered off so badly.

    • August 28th 2013 @ 11:27am
      MJ said | August 28th 2013 @ 11:27am | ! Report

      High Esteem didn’t disgrace himself in the PB Lawrence. Moody spoke highly of him in the prerace interview. Is he any chance of doing anything in spring?

      • Columnist

        August 28th 2013 @ 6:44pm
        Alfred Chan said | August 28th 2013 @ 6:44pm | ! Report

        It’s still a bit early for me to make a judgement on High Esteem but Moody has nominated him for both the Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate. The four horses in the article are also nominated for both and I think they have a better chance of making the fields.

    • August 29th 2013 @ 8:52am
      Cameron said | August 29th 2013 @ 8:52am | ! Report

      Just a matter of time. In the meantime. Keep potting Peter. He thrives on he crap you punters write!

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