There’s no such thing as the perfect trainer.
Even the great ones get beat. TJ came up empty every now and then. Bart lost a Melbourne Cup one day.
There are horses involved. Sometimes they don’t do as they’re told. Jockeys too. Wet tracks. Bad barriers. Painful as it is, losses are part of the game.
They can’t win them all, but some go mighty close. Followers of Peter Moody and Rob Heathcote this season have been collecting more often than not.
Moody has trained more than 100 Melbourne winners in twelve months. Breathtaking stuff. Only been done twice before.
His premiership lead over Mark Kavanagh is more than 60. It’s difficult to fathom how one trainer could be so dominant in such a tough racing city.
All that, and still a strike rate of over 20%. I have to take my shoes off to count to 20, but even I know that’s impressive.
His mate north of the border has also been in rare form. Heathcote cracked the elusive 60 wins in Brisbane.
Don’t worry about comparing the figures. Nowhere near as many meetings up here.
It’s only the third time in 160 years that the milestone has been achieved. Some wonderful Queensland trainers haven’t been able to get close.
So how did they do it? Well, they’re two different blokes. With striking similarities.
Moody is the boy from the Queensland bush, who was born to make horses run fast. A life of refusing to take no for an answer.
Heathcote hails from Tasmania. In another life he was a tour guide in Europe. He’s travelled more than the Concorde.
Look at them now, and marvel at their success. The quest to be the best starts at 3am. Every day.
Both are incredibly hard workers. Great listeners. They surround themselves with the most talented staff. And engage the finest jockeys.
They know the importance of owners, and don’t treat them as fools. No hanging up when someone from the media rings. Most of the time.
The pressure involved in training the very best gallopers is enormous. How must it be when you’re the bloke saddling Black Caviar?
When Moody came north with the mighty mare, he could have locked himself away in an expensive city hotel, and rocked gently back and forward until race time.
Know where he was the day before she created history at Doomben? At the Brekky Creek hotel. Having a beer, and getting slapped on the back by half of Brisbane.
I’ve been lucky enough to know Rob Heathcote for a few years now. He trained the first winner our mob was involved in. We went nuts. And he was genuinely excited for us.
There’s nothing better than watching him in action at trackwork. Doesn’t miss a thing. Even though he’s barking orders, stirring strappers and patting the dog.
Others do the same, I know. But winning premierships and breaking records is no fluke. I’m sure Bart once said “..the harder I work, the luckier I get”. That’s Cummings, not Simpson.
These two deserve every bit of the success they’re achieving. At the top of their respective trees.
We can be guilty of not saluting our stars in the racing game. Maybe it’s because the meetings never end. There’s always another race, somewhere.
Mind you, Peter and Rob won’t complain. As long as horses are healthy, owners are happy, and the winners keep coming, they couldn’t give two hoots.
It’s not finished, of course. Watch them win the last races at Doomben and Caulfield today. More easy money for their followers. A perfect end to a season most only dream of.
The best tip of the day is that Peter Moody and Rob Heathcote are only going to get better. Blokes who chase perfection are like that.