This year’s Melbourne Spring Carnival is shaping up as a beauty for premier Victorian horseman Peter Moody, and not only because of the highly-anticipated return of his undefeated turf queen Black Caviar.
While the racing world is in a frenzy over the chance to again back the best horse in the world, six-time Group 1 winning Bel Esprit mare Black Caviar to be the major Melbourne Cup Carnival drawcard this year, Moody is quietly confident over a number of his other stable stars.
“I’ve got my mind on what’s coming up next, and to tell you the truth, it’s pretty exciting,” Moody, 40, said.
“I’m really looking forward to next season.
“Of course, we hope the ride with Black Caviar will continue, but she’s just one member of a good team of young horses on the way through.”
After the VRC announced their revised bonus incentive for the $1 million Group 1 Patinack Farm Classic (1200m) this week, Black Caviar is now more certain than ever to defend her title in the Emirates Stakes Day feature at Flemington in November.
As well as saddling up the favourite for the Melbourne Cup Carnival’s premier weight-for-age sprint, Moody is also set to enjoy a strong hand in many of the spring’s other highlight events including the $2.5 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m).
Set to run on Saturday October 15, the Caulfield Cup is the richest 2400m handicap in the world and Moody is behind the ante-post favourite for the race, Lights Of Heaven.
Lightly-raced Zabeel filly Lights Of Heaven is undefeated in her four career starts to date and is already an elite level winning having claimed an easy three length victory in the Group 1 Schweppes Oaks (2008m) at Morphettville last start on March 26.
Lights Of Heaven is now being tipped to follow in the hoofsteps of her famous stablemates, both past and present, including Moody’s now-retired reigning Horse of the Year Typhoon Tracy and of course, favourite to have Horse of the Year honours handed down to her, Black Caviar.
Moody is also looking forward to having a stranglehold over the spring’s three-year-old features having prepared some of this season’s best juveniles.
Three-year-old showdowns including the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) on October 8, Group 1 Thousand Guineas (1600m) on October 12 and the prestigious Group 1 AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington on October 29 are all on the agenda.
“There are some quality two-year-old fillies turning three, such as Hallowell Belle and One Last Dance, as well as the Zabeel filly Lights Of Heaven and a host of others, such as Do Ra Mi that are all capable of winning top races,” Moody said.
One of the runners he mentioned is Starcraft filly Hallowell Belle, who although is still a maiden after three starts, showed her potential to emerge as a spring star with three black-type placings.
Running second to Defiant Dame in the Listed Gimcrack Stakes (1000m) on debut at Randwick last October, this year Hallowell Belle matched it with the best finishing third to her also very promising stablemate One Last Dance in the Group 3 Blue Diamond Fillies Prelude (1100m) at Caulfield on February 12.
She then backed up in one of the leading two-year-old races of the year, Hallowell Belle finishing a game second to runaway winner Sepoy in the $1 million Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m).
Many of the rising three-year-olds among the Moody ranks will be entered for the 2011 Caulfield Guineas as the esteemed trainer vies for back-to-back wins in the feature after he won with Anacheeva last year.
One Last Dance is the only one of Moody’s mentioned hopefuls that has suffered a setback during their time out, the undefeated daughter of Encosta De Lago having been struck down by a bout of colic last weekend.
There are also two new editions to the Moody army that are sure to turn some heads this spring with gun Kiwi filly King’s Rose and the much-flaunted former Sydney galloper Godspeed in work to make their debut for Moody.
Previously prepared by Jason Bridgman in New Zealand, Redoute’s Choice filly King’s Rose has won six of her 12 career starts to date including five black-types on the trot during the summer.
During that magic run, the rising four-year-old became a Group 1 winner succeeding in the New Zealand Thousand Guineas over the mile last November.
“King’s Rose, they rated her the best filly over there (in New Zealand) but I haven’t had time yet to have a good look at her tapes,” Moody said.
Former Gerald Ryan-trained Godspeed, purchased for a costly $1.8 million as a yearling also has the town talking, another Redoute’s Choice prodigy that to date has only made two track appearances.
After running an eye-catching second to Bossdon City on debut in an 1100m handicap at Rosehill on January 15, then two-year-old Godspeed finished runner-up again in their second career start this time behind Abstract at Randwick on January 29.
“The spruik on him’s always been massive but he’s still a maiden,” Moody said of his new acquisition.
“We’ve had a good run (with newcomers) in recent years with horses like Wanted, Tickets and Hinchinbrook,” Moody said.
“We’ve got high hopes for these two.”