Racing: Black Caviar's trainer made huge contribution

By Mike Dillon

Trainer Peter Moody, back with hat, jockey Luke Nolen and strapper Donna Fisher after Black Caviar won the TJ Smith Stakes last Saturday. Photo / AP
Trainer Peter Moody, back with hat, jockey Luke Nolen and strapper Donna Fisher after Black Caviar won the TJ Smith Stakes last Saturday. Photo / AP

It's an old line that there are two sides to every story. The Black Caviar yarn had a dozen. Probably more.

As much as we'll cherish the memory of perhaps the greatest racehorse most of us will see, no one could ever forget the priceless contribution trainer Peter Moody added to the canvas.

Bart Cummings is pricelessly glib, Gai Waterhouse can talk under wet cement, her father, the late Tommy Smith, could entertain for hours if it pleased owners and the media.

Tommy was the master of the oneliner - "I wouldn't answer the phone for an owner, but I'd get out of the bath for a journalist."

None of them have come within 15 lengths of Peter Moody for availability, humility, humour in the face of crushing pressure, grace and total dedication to the wellbeing of a mare that took him to the stars.

Which adds an interesting twist to the tail of this wonderful tale.

Rider Luke Nolen says Black Caviar felt on top of the world winning the TJ Smith at Randwick last Saturday.

Moody says he knew the show was over when he saw an exhausted Black Caviar return to the Randwick birdcage. Those two don't fit.

Is there something we're not being told? Such is the respect for Moody and the entire team, including 'Nelly's' New Zealand trackwork rider Paddy Bell, that question may never be asked. Or answered.

When Black Caviar literally fell in to win at Royal Ascot in June last year, it was weeks before we learned that pre-race the great mare had been so far over the top and buggered as to be close to being described as sick. Only the pressure of representing an entire nation forced the team to race her.

Whatever the reason for this sudden, unexpected halt, it will be one hundred per cent the right decision. If Moody has one regret it would be that he will now be unable to take Black Caviar back to England in top form.

The public love the big, rugged Queenslander's ability to inject humour into almost any situation.

And his honesty. He totally gives of himself. Asked how the retirement would affect him personally, Moody said: "It will be a lot less enticing getting out of bed at 3.15am knowing Nelly won't be there, ever again. But it might help me give up the cigarettes."

He might be interested to see our odds board on that bet type.

How special was she? "I think [with] every horse you train you have a dream. We've all had horses that showed the world and delivered an atlas. She showed the world and delivered the world."

Strangely, one of the last words will be from a magnificent cartoon in Melbourne's Herald Sun this week.

It depicts a reclining Black Caviar on a lounger in front of a fire with a speech bubble from her mouth: "Will retirement be difficult? Darling, I've retired more horses than anyone."

Ain't that the truth.

Ask the unluckiest horse ever in Australia - Hay List.

•Today, Black Caviar's salmon and black colours will be worn for the last time when she canters down the Caulfield straight in a final parade to say goodbye. It will be a mistake to forget your handkerchief.

- NZ Herald

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