Magic for Moodys as twins reunited with Black Caviar
To celebrate Black Caviar Lightning Race Day Peter Moody’s daughters, AFL W players Breann Moody and Celine Moody were reunited with the champion mare for the first time in seven years.
Twins Breann and Celine Moody are experts at the art of the footy ruck, developing into star ruckwomen for Carlton and the Western Bulldogs respectively. Little did they know, though, that it was their dad's decision to enter a different kind of ruck on their 11th birthday that would be the start of an exciting journey that completed its full circle this week in the Hunter Valley.
That March day in 2008, while his girls were celebrating their shared 11th birthday, their father Peter was at an auction - the Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale at Oaklands Junction, on the outskirts of Melbourne.
Mastering the thoroughbred auction ruck takes precision, guile, intuition - not too dissimilar to the centre bounce. Unlike a footy ruck, though, an ability to hide and to play a patient waiting game is critical.
Having been taken by a Swettenham Stud-offered filly who was closely related to a sprinter he knew well, Lightning Stakes placegetter Magnus, from a mare that was out of another Lightning Stakes placegetter in Scandinavia, Peter Moody knew that he had to purchase her. There was no other option.
Combining with Neil Werrett, Moody went to $210,000 for the Bel Esprit filly. It was not a birthday present to his girls, but the outlay that day ensured there would be plenty of exciting birthdays to come as the twins entered their teens.
Not that they would have known it at the time though, as Moody at the time had dozens of horses on his books. The filly was one of six that Moody Racing Pty Ltd bought at that particular sale and one of about 25 that he sourced at the major sales that season.
Even when she started putting together a streak of wins, emerging from a maiden win over the Lightning course and distance in April, 2009 to become a Flemington Group 1 winner in November, 2010 and a Lightning Stakes winner for the first time in February, 2011, Breann admits they didn't realise their dad was preparing the horse of a lifetime.
"I think we were a little bit young to appreciate how good she was, we took it a bit for granted," she said. "It was dad's job, he had a good horse and she was winning all of her races. It was awesome but it was also what dad was doing at the time. It wasn't until the end of her career that we realised that this doesn't happen that often.
"My favourite memory is at home, I think it was just after she'd retired and we knew she was going to be heading off to stud pretty soon. So dad threw the halter and lead on her and so we took it in turns with her one by one, jumping on her back and going for a little walk with her. Just to be able to say, not only that we'd had Black Caviar at the farm but also that we were able to ride her for the five seconds that it was. We knew then just how special that was."
Celine Moody says that, for her, she will never forget Black Caviar's historic win in the Lightning Stakes in 2013, which had been renamed the Black Caviar Lightning that year in her honour. By then, the Moody girls were weeks away from their 16th birthday.
"I think my favourite win of hers is after she returned from Royal Ascot," she said. "It was her third win in the Lightning, just seeing how she recovered after coming back from overseas and that little bit of a scare.
This week, for the first time in seven years, Breann and Celine were reunited with Black Caviar. This time, though, the champion mare was not alone and was joined by her Written Tycoon filly foal, who possesses plenty of her mother's sass and style.
"It was such a special moment to be able to reunited with Black Caviar," Breann said. "We haven't seen her for seven years so to be able to catch up with her and one of her foals was so special. She is a special mum, she looked so happy and healthy out here and so was little bub so it's fantastic."
Added Celine: "We saw her here after she'd had her first foal. Seeing her transition into motherhood was special and she's thrown some gorgeous foals. It's really great to see her thriving in motherhood and she still is today."
While the sisters are certainly familiar with pressure in the AFLW, they both agree that the anticipation of watching their beloved mare in the knowledge that one wrong move could bring an end to her unbeaten streak brought about nerves of a different kind.
"Heading to Flemington without the pressure of Black Caviar racing, I think it definitely makes for a more enjoyable, relaxing day," Celine joked. "Obviously, that was an incredible time for all of us and I wouldn't trade that for the world but I definitely like letting the hair down and not having those nerves."
Their father will not have a runner in the Black Caviar Lightning tomorrow but will saddle up favourite Waltz On By in the Listed Talindert Stakes (1100m) and course and distance Group 2 winner Lightsaber in the Group 3 C S Hayes Stakes (1400m).
"I think dad is really enjoying his return to racing, although he might not show it - sometimes he pretends like he doesn't enjoy it," Celine said. "It's all he's ever known and, even when he wasn't training, he was still so very involved in the industry. You couldn't keep him away from it, so I think he's loving being back in the stables and back with a team of horses.
"Dad's got an exciting autumn hopefully coming up at Flemington, he's got Spanish Mission hopefully heading to the TAB Australian Cup and we hope that Lightsaber can make it into the Seppelt Wines All-Star Mile too."
While any Peter Moody-trained winner during the Flemington Racing Spectacular in March would make a good 25th birthday present for his daughters, it's safe to say that nothing will match that handy little purchase he made the day they turned 11.
Image caption: Celine and Breann Moody with Black Caviar and her filly (Credit: Mark Stewart / Herald Sun)