Moody hoping to see Rose bloom at Australian debut

The New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes is one of the important pre-spring features that sheds light on what trainers can expect from their star charges during spring and one conditioner who will learn more than most is Peter Moody.

This year’s $200,000 Group 2, to be run at Caulfield this Saturday, will see Victoria’s champion trainer of the past two seasons unveil King’s Rose, a highly-rated former Kiwi mare who will have her first start for the stable.

The daughter of Redoute’s Choice has brought sterling form across the Tasman – six wins from 12 starts, including the Group 1 Thousand Guineas – and Moody is eager to see where the four-year-old might fit into the spring landscape.

“We’re not sure, we’re still learning about her, but the pleasing thing is the owner’s got no lofty ambitions,” Moody said. “He said just take her as you find her, even if we’re in mares’ races, so we’ll learn a lot from her Saturday.

“But I’m a little bit excited about her. If she runs to her form and the way she looks, she should be running well wherever.”

King’s Rose has been entered for both the $2.5m BMW Caulfield Cup and the $3m Tatts Cox Plate, as have many of her Memsie Stakes rivals, including stablemate Anacheeva.

The Anabaa four-year-old returns to the scene of his greatest triumph, last year’s The Age Caulfield Guineas, and although he didn’t recapture his best form in the late summer/autumn, Moody insists he has come back well.

“He’s probably on a Caulfield Cup path,” Moody said. “This is a nice race to resume in and he’ll get better as the distances get up. He looks in great shape but it probably won’t be out to 1800, 2000 (metres) when he starts hitting his straps.”

King’s Rose, who will be ridden by stable jockey Luke Nolen, is the more fancied of Moody’s pair with TAB Sportsbet, $6 in a market that has Anacheeva (Craig Newitt) at $14.

Favourite, at $3.80, is the Mick Price-trained Heart Of Dreams with Jim Conlan’s Rekindled Interest ($4.60) and Danny O’Brien-trained AJC Derby winner Shamrocker ($8) the others at a single-figure quote.

The Memsie is one of six races in which Moody has multiple runners on Saturday, including the day’s key support race, the $125,000 Group 3 H.D.F. McNeil Stakes (1200m) for the three-year-olds.

Crack colt Golden Archer (Nolen) and consistent filly Metonymy (Michael Walker) will be back in action at their home track, where they both finished second when first-up on August 14.

Golden Archer was no match for Sepoy after enduring a wide run in the Vain Stakes, while Metonymy was nosed out by Satin Shoes in the Quezette Stakes.

“Sepoy rules the roost in the Danehill the following week (Flemington, Sept 3) so I’ll probably run them both this week to dodge him to be honest, but both horses are in good shape,” Moody said.

“Metonymy’s really come on. I was a little bit bewildered with her pre her first-up, but I’m pleased to say it’s really brought her on and she’s picked up no end.

“Golden Archer, (he’s) looking for a bit more luck in the run. He was wide and overdid it the other day. He couldn’t have beaten Sepoy, but he could have made it interesting I feel.”

Moody’s other most intriguing Caulfield runners are Samantha Miss’s little sister Hurriyet (Ben Melham) and Plucky Belle (Nolen), a daughter of former top racemare Winning Belle, who will join stablemate Cute Emily (Daniel Stackhouse) in the day’s opener, The Age Good Food Guide Plate (1400m).

“Cute Emily is probably the pick of the three, just on experience and maturity at this point, but the other two, come the autumn, they’re going to be top class fillies,” Moody said.

Melbourne still in sight for Americain despite 10th in France

The Mark Johnston trained Jukebox Jury led throughout, overnight, to win a slowly run Darley Prix Kergorlay at Deauville, France which is still likely to prove significant from an Emirates Melbourne Cup viewpoint despite the unplaced runs of Manighar, Americain and Dunaden.
Johnston told Racing Victoria immediately after the race that Jukebox Jury would be nominated for the Melbourne Cup which was one of several options for the five-year-old, while Alain de Royer-Dupre remained upbeat about Americain’s Cup prospects despite the 2010 winner finishing 10th yesterday.

Mikel Delzangles remains similarly committed despite his Melbourne entry Dunaden finishing ninth while Terry Henderson, managing owner of Manighar, said his horse was a Melbourne definite after running an excellent fourth having an endured a three wide run, without cover, throughout.

Jukebox Jury, superbly rated by Neil Callan, won the Kergorlay by three lengths from Francois Doumen’s Kasbah Bliss with Andre Fabre’s Brigantin a half length back in third. There was then just two lengths from third to 10th with the lack of tempo thwarting many of the genuine stayers.

Manighar, seventh in last year’s Melbourne Cup, was a nose behind the third placegetter. “Terrific run. He was wide all the way and kept coming after the winning pinched a break. Very happy and he’s bound for Melbourne,” said Henderson.

Kieren Fallon, who rode Manighar, told Henderson the horse was ‘going better’ this year than last. Fallon also rode Manighar when runner-up behind Americain in last year’s Kergorlay.

“Kieren (Fallon) has thrown his hat into the ring to ride the horse in Melbourne but no decision has been made on that yet,” Henderson said.

“The pleasing thing is that he’s run so well here at Deauville. It’s a flat track like Flemington so I think it’s the best place to make an assessment of how they’re going and this was a stronger race this year than last,” Henderson said.

Henderson added that Bauer was unlikely to return to Melbourne while a decision was yet to be made with Chilean acquistion Sahara Sun who is in training with Luca Cumani.

“He’ll have a run in 10 days time. Until then it’s hard to know exactly where he is but he did work in super fashion at Luca’s yesterday,” he said.

Americain’s trainer de Royer-Dupre was unperturbed by his apparent failure.

“He got down on his knees at the start, was crowded for room, the ground was too firm and the pace was too slow. We’ll carry on to Melbourne provided he pulls up well,” he said.

Delzangles had a similar view with Dunaden. “He had no cover and I couldn’t believe how slow they went. Did you see the splits? I think we will press on,” he said. Delzangles intends to contact Glen Boss regarding the Melbourne Cup ride.

The winner confirmed the promise of his previous run when a half length third behind two other Melbourne spring ‘possibles’ Drunken Sailor and Harris Tweed in the Glorious Stakes.

“I was not surprised. I knew he was capable of winning this type of race and Neil (Callan) gave him a great ride. We have many options with him now. The Canadian International, the Irish St Leger, Hong Kong, the Japan Cup. The Japan Cup is a race I’ve always wanted to win but we will enter him for the Melbourne Cup. Someone will just need to convince me and the owner as to why we should come to Melbourne,” Johnston said.

In other Melbourne Cup news, it is believed that an Australian syndicate will buy into Drunken Sailor this week and that he too will be Melbourne bound.

And the vibe from the Japanese contingent, in Deauville for the sales beginning tomorrow, was strong that Meiner Kitz and Beat Black were likely to travel from Japan in a bid to emulate the deeds of Delta Blues and Pop Rock.

Team Caviar sweep the pool at Victorian Racing Awards

The domination of Black Caviar, her jockey Luke Nolen and trainer Peter Moody continued off the track at Sunday night’s Victorian Thoroughbred Racing Awards presented by Tabcorp at Crown.

In the most anticipated showdown of the awards, sprinting heroine Black Caviar defeated middle distance champion So You Think in the race to be crowned 2011 Staging Connections Victorian Racehorse of the Year.

Both horses won four Group 1 races on Victorian tracks during the 2010-11 season, but it was Black Caviar who was adjudged the standout performer by members of the Victorian racing media who lodged votes on a 3-2-1 basis.

Black Caviar amassed 150 votes to So You Think’s 134 with Americain (28) and Sepoy (17), both of whom were unbeaten in Victoria, the only other horses to reach double figures.

It was the second consecutive year that a Moody-trained mare had claimed Victorian racing’s highest equine honour, after Typhoon Tracy won the title in 2010. It capped a memorable night for the Caulfield-based trainer.

Moody, 42, upstaged a star-studded field, including three-time winner Bart Cummings, to claim his first Fred Hoysted Medal in recognition of his efforts during the 2011 Melbourne Festival of Racing with Black Caviar, Typhoon Tracy, Do Ra Mi, Lights Of Heaven and Miss Gai Flyer.

The Medal, presented by Radio Sport National and voted on by a selection committee headed by the Australian Trainers Association (ATA), is awarded in recognition of the most outstanding training performance of the racing season.

The night’s headline award, the Scobie Breasley Medal presented by Tabcorp, was won for the first time by 31-year-old Nolen who amassed 64 votes – 19 more than second placed Craig Newitt.

Ben Melham, the only other jockey to ride Black Caviar last season, finished third on 37 votes with four-time Medallist Craig Williams one vote back in fourth. Consistent vote getter Dwayne Dunn rounded out the top five on 35.

Nolen, who was also presented with his second consecutive Mitchelton Wines Victorian Metropolitan Jockey Premiership trophy, was the recipient of votes at 29 race meetings with Racing Victoria stewards awarding votes on a 3-2-1 basis for the best rides at each metropolitan meeting.

With interstate commitments following the Melbourne Festival of Racing, Nolen was restricted to just nine votes in the final four months of the season. Overall, he claimed the ‘three vote’ at 12 meetings and at two of these; he was also the recipient of the ‘one vote’ from stewards.

Interestingly, he was not awarded a vote for any of his five winning rides on Black Caviar. The Age Caulfield Guineas winner Anacheeva and Rokk Ebony Sandown Cup winner Macedonian were the only two horses on which he secured votes on multiple occasions.

Nolen’s dominant Scobie Breasley Medal victory was replicated in the Tommy Corrigan Medal. Presented by Thoroughbred Racing Productions, the Medal recognises the premier jumps rider across Victoria and South Australia from 1 August 2010 to 31 July 2011.

Steve Pateman claimed his fourth Tommy Corrigan Medal in five years amassing 38 votes, a whopping 25 clear of second placed Gavin Bedggood. Third on 12 votes was Trent Wells, followed by Brad McLean (11), Tommy Logan (10) and Irish jockey John Allen (10).

In the night’s most touching moment, Brenton Primmer’s emotional return to the winners circle at this year’s Warrnambool May Racing Carnival was voted by the public as the highlight of the 2010-11 season scoring a landslide victory in the TVN Most Memorable Moment award.

The ‘comeback kid’ attracted 68.77% of the vote, followed by Black Caviar’s Lexus Newmarket Handicap win (17.41%), Zipping’s fourth Sandown Classic (8.02%), So You Think’s second Tatts Cox Plate (4.61%) and Americain’s Emirates Melbourne Cup win (1.19%).

Others to receive awards on the night were star apprentice Jake Noonan, who took home the IER Metropolitan Apprentice Jockey Premiership trophy, and Sunday Herald Sun stalwart Rod Nicholson who was presented with the VRC Bert Wolfe Media Award.

Black and Bent Cup Bound

Black and Bent confirmed his status as Australasia’s champion jumper with a demolition of his rivals in today’s $200,000 Grand National Hurdle (3900m) at Sandown.

The outstanding son of Black Hawk produced one of the finest hurdling performances seen on Australian shores as he cruised home to win by a widening 12 length margin.

Connections cheered and the crowd marvelled as Black and Bent raced clear approaching the last jump and then roared with approval as he soared over it with ease.

Jockey Steven Pateman had time to think about he’d spent his cut from the win as the pair coasted home to great applause.

Jumps racing “white knight” and part owner Mike Symons was a proud man in the winner’s stall.

“What a performance – my heart is pumping so much,” Symons said from the winner’s stall.

“What can you say – he’s just a superstar!”

“We knew he would improve after (winning at) Warrnambool. He’s always been half a run behind this preparation and after that run we knew he would be spot on for the National.”

While trainer Robert Smerdon is certain Black and Bent is better than his half brother Some Are Bent, Symons is a little more reserved.

“Some Are Bent won over a million dollars over the jumps and this guy’s only about half way there yet,” Symons said.

“But on that performance you’d have to say he’s every bit as good, if not even now a little better.”

And connections dreams of qualifying him to run in this year’s Melbourne Cup are still alive.

“He’ll run next in the Houlahan Hurdle here in a fortnight and then we’ll look at trying to get him to the Cup.”

“The RM Ansett Stakes at Mornington and the Bart Cummings at Flemington are on the same weekend and both are listed races over 2300 metres and if he won that would pass the first qualifying condition.”

“He’s got a great record on the flat at Flemington and he could head to the Bart Cummings – but we’ll nominate for both races and work out where to go from there,” Symons added.

Winning rider Steven Pateman described the effort and his feeling after the race as “just unbelievable.”

“He’s just an amazing horse,” Pateman summed up.

Black and Bent has turned out an incredible money spinner for connections following his purchase by Blue Sky Thoroughbreds on behalf of Victoria’s Rick McIntosh at the 2007 Magic Millions National Yearling Sale.

He’s now earned over $770,000 – a handsome return on his $25,000 purchase price.

The gelding, who is from the grand producer Summer Gambit, was bred on the outskirts of Gumeracha in South Australia’s Torrens Valley by Rob and Maureen McBryde and sold through their Summerset Park draft.

His famous half brother Some Are Bent was one of the country’s most popular gallopers – like Black and Bent he was a star over jumps.

A son of Distored Humor, Some Are Bent raced for similar connections and earned over $1 million during a 14 win career. He was the Champion Jumper of Australia in 2007.

Their dam Summer Gambit, a four time winner, almost earned black type – running fourth in a listed Balcrest Stakes and Lord Mayor’s Mile, both in Adelaide.

Another of her city winners is the Delzao mare Banderilla – a homebred for the McBryde family. She is yet to go to stud.

Summer Gambit, a spritely 21-year-old, was served last season by former outstanding juvenile Von Costa De Hero.

Sepoy to upstage the older stars at Caulfield this Saturday

The first Group 2 race of the season – which this year has undergone a name change from the J.J. Liston Stakes to the P.B. Lawrence Stakes – doesn’t often play second fiddle to a support event, but it may this Saturday at Caulfield.

Unbeaten mare Lights Of Heaven and crowd favourite Whobegotyou look set to be upstaged by the return of champion colt Sepoy in the $100,000 Listed Vain Stakes for the three-year-old boys.

The Peter Snowden-trained superstar is in line to have his first start since becoming the first juvenile to complete the Blue Diamond Stakes-Golden Slipper double in 22 years in the 1100m event.

A mark of Sepoy’s standing is that his appearance is likely to command more headlines than potential first-up outings by two leading contenders for the Spring Racing Carnival’s majors in the $200,000 P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m).

The Peter Moody-trained Lights Of Heaven, a winner of her only four starts including the Group 1 Australasian Oaks, shares TAB Sportsbet favouritism for both the BMW Caulfield Cup and Emirates Melbourne Cup, while Mark Kavanagh’s Whobegotyou is the highest-ranked local entry in Tatts Cox Plate markets.

They are joined among the P.B. Lawrence nominations by another feature-race fancy, the Mick Kent-trained Absolutely, who hasn’t been to the races since breaking her maiden status in the Group 1 AJC Australian Oaks in April.

Robert Hickmott has a typically big team of entries, including Base, I’m Imposing and Mourayan, while David Hayes is poised to unveil intriguing import Budai, who counts a Group 3 win in Europe among his five wins from 11 starts.

While Sepoy is the headline act, he isn’t the only big name in the Vain Stakes entries. Danny O’Brien-trained VRC Sires’ Produce winner Running Tall is also poised to kick off his Spring campaign, along with Moody’s one-time ruling Blue Diamond favourite Golden Archer.

The Vain Stakes is one of two outstanding events for the new season three-year-olds with the fillies to step out in the $100,000 Listed Quezette Stakes.

Golden Slipper runner-up Mosheen, now prepared by Robert Smerdon, is joined by classy Moody pair Cute Emily and Metonymy, Blue Sapphire Stakes winner City Of Song and top Sydneysiders Satin Shoes, Glissade and Hollyweird among the entries for the 1100m event.

The $100,000 Listed Regal Roller Stakes (1200m) has attracted an impressive set of entries, including Oakleigh Plate winner Eagle Falls, last-start Bletchingly Stakes winner Mid Summer Music, unbeaten Bel Sprinter, Australian Guineas runner-up Bullbars and Group 2 Kewney Stakes runner-up Do Ra Mi.

Mid Summer Music is also nominated for the $100,000 Listed Cockram Stakes (1200m) for mares, as is Absolutely and VRC Crown Oaks heroine Brazilian Pulse, top South Australian Southern Speed, AJ Oaks placegetter Pinker Pinker and the classy Parables.