It’s a lonely place at the top

Clashes with racing officials lead to a bittersweet ending of Peter Moody's training career


Farm Online News
Peter Moody with strapper Donna Fisher, jockey Luke Nolen, and Black Caviar after one of her 25-straight wins.

Peter Moody with strapper Donna Fisher, jockey Luke Nolen, and Black Caviar after one of her 25-straight wins.

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Peter Moody talks life after racing.

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Peter Moody was once touted as one of the biggest innovators and risk-takers in this country’s turf history and was responsible for training Australia’s most famous horse, Black Caviar, but these days he enjoys horse racing from a very different seat. 

It’s been almost two years since his retirement from race horse training and yet his love for the sport has never waned. 

These days, Peter works as an ambassador for Ladbrokes, a bloodstock consultant for syndications and private buyers, and does a lot of public speaking for sporting clubs and private organisations. 

The ambassador role with Ladbrokes gives Peter the opportunity to stay involved in an industry that he loves, and he said he thoroughly enjoys the role.

“That's something I enjoy because a lot of it involves great Australian sporting events like State of Origin, race meetings and they sponsor a lot of race meetings all over the country so I get to travel to the carnivals that were a big part of my life, but I haven't got the pressure of being the actual trainer on the day,” he said.

While many people tend to slow down in their retirement, Peter said he has managed to fill the hole left by the loss of his training career.

“I seem to be busier than bloody ever,” he said. 

Peter’s 30-year career came to a sad end in March 2016 following clashes with racing officials over the presence of cobalt in one of his horses.

Since retiring, Peter has been busier than ever, writing his book 'A Long Way From Wyandra', among other things.

Since retiring, Peter has been busier than ever, writing his book 'A Long Way From Wyandra', among other things.

While officials could never prove that Peter was guilty of administering the cobalt, he said it saddened him that they were determined to drive him from the sport he loved.

“There's no doubt I didn't want to end my career on that note, but I always felt that around this time I was certainly going to look to downscale my training activities and it's a pity the way it came about,” he said. 

“I'd be lying if I said I wasn't bitter about that and probably bitter about my treatment by authorities.

“It's bittersweet, but at the end of the day I love racing, I love horses and it's all I know how to do really, so I'll always be involved.”

Ironically, Peter said the same officials that drove him from the sport now use him as a promotional tool for racing. 

While he does still resent the circumstances that lead to the end of his career, Peter said retirement had been treating him well.

“I'm enjoying life and spend a lot more time with my family and get to do a few more things that I enjoy to do away from the day to day rigors of racing,” he said.

The extra time has allowed Peter to indulge his love of Australian war history and the Anzacs.

Last year Peter went to the 50th anniversary of the Long Tan Battle and then traveled through the Western Front, France, ANZAC Cove, Greece, Italy, Turkey, Cambodia and Vietnam.

“I walked Kokoda this year which was pretty special,” he said. 

Peter’s career saw him win four Melbourne premierships, be named the most successful trainer-jockey in modern times with Luke Nolen, and train Black Caviar, yet he said his greatest achievement was his three daughters.

“Even though they're now sort of grown up and probably don't need me in their lives as they probably did when they were younger and I wasn't there, it's great to get a second chance and spend a bit of time with them,” he said.

As for the future, Peter said it will involved more travel, more family time and a continued involvement in the racing industry.

Peter said it was his hope that his beloved racing industry would continue to strengthen and thrive. 

“It's hard, but it's got to be maintained,” he said.

“The strength in racing all the way around Australia is in the capital cities but the majority of the participants have a rural background.

“I don't care if it's administrators, trainers, whatever; country racing has to be maintained.

“Governments around Australia have to be very careful and racing jurisdictions, whether it's Vic, NSW, Qld, or WA, they've got to be very mindful of that because those participants, you need them to continue coming through to make city racing as vibrant and as healthy as it is.

“And it's a food chain too.

“Not only for participants going into the metropolitan areas where the racing is more prosperous, but also it's a food chain for the horses.

“Not every horse is good enough to race in those jurisdictions so they've got to have a lifeline outside of that. 

“It is unbelievably important and has to be nurtured and looked after by racing administrators.” 

And while Peter hopes the racing industry will continue along the current prosperous trend, he said he hopes for a culture shift within the industry.

“We're amazing people Australians; we love our champions, but we always root for the underdog,” he said.

“We tend to really support and get behind people as they're climbing the ladder, but when they get to the top we drop off them and we look for the next challenger.

“And I know myself, as my career progressed and I was climbing the ladder of success, I had unbelievable support and well wishes and that, but when I got to the top of the tree it was a very lonely place.

“It's sad and hurtful. 

“You go to most places in the world and you see someone driving a nice car and wearing good clothes and you say he's doing well.

“In Australia, we say who the f#@! did he rob?

“That's our mentality, and being at the top of the tree in any game and any success, people then start looking for the negatives.

“Why did you get there? Was I a drug cheat? Was I too successful for my own good?

“But when I was climbing the ladder, I was the greatest bloke in the world.

“I'd like to think the success I had didn't change me.” 

The story It’s a lonely place at the top first appeared on Queensland Country Life.

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