Triple Melbourne Trainers’ Premiership winner Peter Moody is gearing up for a big Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival crusade this year and is hopeful to have a runner in the ‘race that stops a nation’ with his dual winter cup winner Lights Of Heaven to target the Melbourne Cup 2012.
Most of the attention on Moody’s Caulfield operation heading into the spring has been on whether his glamour mare Black Caviar will return after taking her career record to 22 wins from as many starts over in the UK and race on for another season down under.
That decision is still pending however and Moody has a number of other champions in his care that he is also focused on for the new season including rising five-year-old Zabeel mare Lights Of Heaven winner of the Group 1 Schweppes Oaks in Adelaide last year.
A one-time fancy for last year’s Caulfield Cup, Lights Of Heaven failed to make the field but did run a good third to Descarado in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) in October.
From there Lights Of Heaven ran in the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on Victoria Derby Day but failed to beat home any other runners and was subsequently spelled.
She spent over five months on the sidelines before returning for an excellent autumn – winter campaign.
After a first-up seventh to More Joyous in the Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1500m) in Sydney Lights Of Heaven went to Moody’s home state up in Queensland where she thrived.
Beaten by the narrowest of margins in the Group 2 AD Hollindale Stakes (1800m) at the Gold Coast by Shez Sinsational and then in the Group 1 Doomben Cup (2000m) in Brisbane by Mawingo, Lights Of Heaven finally came into her own.
Relishing a Heavy (8) track at Eagle Farm on June 2 she easily beate home Scenic Shot by three lengths to win the Group 2 Eagle Farm Cup (2200m) and then backed up just seven days later to win the Group 2 Brisbane Cup (2400m) by the same impressive margin.
“I think just immaturity has been a major contributing factor,” Moody said of Lights Of Heaven’s 2011 spring carnival.
“We’ve just been patient, let her mature and I think we’ll have a nicer mare again as a five year old.”
Now Moody looks towards another far more prestigious cup showdown for the $970,000 earner having named Lights Of Heaven as his best chance in the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on Tuesday November 6, 2012.
“Lights Of Heaven I’m hoping will be a Melbourne Cup prospect,” Moody said this week.
“The Melbourne Cup is new ground for me but I don’t think Lights of Heaven has to find too much improvement to be worthy of having a shot.”
In the latest Melbourne Cup odds at bookmaker.com.au Lights OF Heaven is rated a juicy $51 chance.
The shortest-priced of Moody’s spring hopefuls is Manighar ($31), however Moody has indicated the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 27 is a more attractive option for his Australian Cup – Ranvet Stakes – The BMW triple winner.
Also on the Melbourne Cup path for Moody along with Lights Of Heaven is his European import Voila Ici currently in pre-training at Caulfield having flown down under from England with Black Caviar.
Throw into the mix his Queensland Derby winning Savabeel three-year-old Brambles and progressive VRC St Leger champ Vatuvei and Moody might just find himself with a shortage of suitable races in Sydney and Melbourne during the early months of the spring.
“It’s going to be extremely difficult to find enough longer races to keep them apart but I have some early ideas on where we might find some areas of difference,” Moody said.
“Manighar will target the weight-for-age path in Melbourne starting early September and Brambles may go to Sydney initially to kick off in a race like the (Group 2) Warwick Stakes (over 1400m at Warwick Farm on August 25).
“Long term I’d like to think Brambles is my Caulfield Cup horse.”
A winner of their last three outings in Brisbane during the winter carnival including the Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m), the ultra-consistent Brambles will need to come on as a four-year-old in the new season if they are to feature in the $2.5 million Group 1 BMW Caulfield Cup (2400im) on October 20.
Pre-nomination Caulfield Cup odds at bookmaker.com.au are led by Atlantic Jewel ($13) with Brambles one of the top five fancies at a quote of $19.
Moody left his crew in Brisbane following the winter carnival where the warmer weather has helped them recover and he will bring them back in around a fortnight’s time.
“The news on those horses at Eagle Farm is all positive,” he said.
“The group had a nice break in Queensland and are starting to step up to stronger work.”
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