Bruce Clark chats with Peter Moody following his Caulfield Cup triumph with Incentivise
Greg Hall had a useful line at sportsman’s nights where he said he never bothered with the Caulfield Cup because it was named after a suburb. (“My Cups were named after cities” The G would roar citing Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane etc).
Well Peter Moody, once of Wyandra, not a suburb but a speck in the Shire Of Paroo, half way between Cunnamulla and Charleville (Pop: 99 at the last census), now proudly claims the Cup named after his former home training suburb but that’s not the only one-up he has on Greg.
“I’ve won a Charleville Cup as well, not many can claim that double can they,” said Moody reflecting on Sunday after a blaze of media duties which followed “that” win of Incentivise on Saturday.
“You know the weirdest thing about it all was that I couldn’t sleep on Saturday night, I kept running the race in my head, over and over again, bloody hell, I was more nervous after the race,” Moody said.
So drained was Moody that his intended trip to Horsham on Sunday afternoon (where he produced a horse to follow in Cup week – blackbook Riot And Rose), was deflected to his former transport boss Peter Courtney, drafted back into the business for the day.
Moody is an old school man of word, tough handshakes and loyalty. It’s why the semi-retired Courtney responded to the call, it’s why his former long term racing manager Jeff O’Connor came back when Moody Training 2.0 reopened.
And it’s why the only regret he has of Cup week is losing three staff because they wouldn’t comply with the industry mandatory Covid vaccination requirements of Racing Victoria.
“I respect their decision, but it was very sad for them, they were integral parts of my business and were there when we kicked off again, but I’ve got to say how chuffed I was when I got a congratulatory message from each of them on Saturday night.”
It’s also the same sort of loyalty to the Belgrave South BWS (hello Paul) which keeps Moody up to speed with his monthly requirement of difficult to get XXXX Gold longnecks.
“I don’t know how they make it so cheap,” chuckles Moody who could easily and readily double as a brand ambassador.
It’s why Moody still drinks at South Melbourne’s racing’s family pub – The Emerald – remembering the early days when he first landed in town and tried starting to syndicate horses from the “members” area in the corner. “I met Gerry Ryan through The Emerald, now he’s one of my biggest clients.”
But it’s also why getting on the wrong side of Moody can earn a robustly swift rebuke, that is tethered with a just as quick clean the slate and move on. Many jockeys can attest to that.
So, when a line suggesting the trainer was seeking “redemption” via The Cup, went out on social media, the big fella was peeved.
It called back the self-quarantined four-year hiatus from training over what he called and still calls a “bullshit” six-month suspension over Cobalt administration allegations.
“I’ve never sought redemption, I never walked away from racing, I just wasn’t training, but it still irritates me no end the whole thing, and we’ve still got trainers with cases hanging over their heads, it’s bullshit.
“It just gives the narks food to say things. That doesn’t bother me personally what people say, I just walked away at the time to save my own credibility and did it on my own terms.”
Moody 2.0 is a scaled-back version of the four-time premiership winning juggernaut that was obviously headlined by the unbeaten career of Black Caviar.
Obviously, time as a bloodstock agent, media pundit and colourful Ladbrokes brand ambassador, fed the family and kept the cigarette supply assured (he reckons he gave them up for 12 months – and there is a story about Amsterdam and smoking pot which I can leave aside), but it’s back at his new home base of Pakenham that the Moody of old morphs into the Moody of today.
Just 40 horses, he calls that boutique, but reckons the phones will soon be offering many more – he’d need a bigger barn but “I promised the girls (wife Sarah, daughter Cara and twins Breann and Celine) I’d keep it to a workable routine.”
“You know what, you never stop learning in this game and I reckon I’ve understood to not be as hard on my horses,” he said.
“I am using the beach for a freshen up, giving them time off in a preparation, I’d say I’m trying to be more Neville Begg than TJ or Bart. Neville was one of the most beautiful horseman I’ve ever seen.
“But here at Pakenham it’s perfect for what we are trying to do and will only get better with some uphill straight gallops and some riding trails, so I’m here to stay, it’s perfect, still about 30-35 minutes from Belgrave South (as was Caulfield) and there is a great community spirit here.”
On Incentivise well “he’s one hell of a horse isn’t he” says Captain Obvious.
“I still don’t really know how it all came about, whether it was because I was from Queensland and they thought I knew Steve (Tregea), I’d met Brae (Solkowski) through the media, saw him on race day, he was very cordial but I never really knew him.
“And I still haven’t met Ozzie (Kheir), I’m not even sure I’ve got his number in my phone,” Moody said.
But a deal struck at a value of $1.2m, $600,000 for half of the most exciting horse in the country with seemingly a mortgage on the Melbourne Cup (yes that’s a city Greg), is with the team at Moody’s.
And that team, like any trainer will tell you, is vital to any stable. So it is big Will Holmes as the strapper and minder for Splinter (Incentivise’s stable name) who tweets “so proud of my child”.
FUN FACT #1 – Incentivise hasn’t been beaten in a race since he finished 16 lengths behind Golden Goal as a $2 favourite in an 1800m Toowoomba maiden in March. (OK, he was a touch lucky), but Golden Goal hasn’t placed since, including at Warwick and Nanango, before failing to finish when the saddle slipped at Toowoomba and then was in on Caulfield Cup night on the Downs and the meeting was called off midway through because of a storm. It’s now running tomorrow night at Clifford Park in a Benchmark 58 as Incentivise stifles Melbourne Cup betting. What’s that saying about “that’s racing”.
FUN FACT #2 – Incentivise is by Sean Buckley’s Ultra Thoroughbred’s Cox Plate winning stallion Shamus Award, who stands at Rosemont Stud, where Moody worked as a bloodstock consultant. Buckley also owns the broodmare Strikeline, the mother of The Everest winner Nature Strip. It’s fair to say Buckley had a fair day Saturday. Strikeline is visiting Shamus Award this breeding season to deliver a half relation to Nature Strip by the sire of Australia’s latest sensation Incentivise.
Originally published as Bruce Clark chats with Peter Moody following his Caulfield Cup triumph with Incentivise
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