Premier trainer Peter Moody went to the UK with one horse, but will welcome back two next month as he strives to become a major player in Australia’s premier staying races.
Australia’s unbeaten champion Black Caviar flies into Melbourne on 10 July with a new stablemate that is primed to deliver Moody just his third Emirates Melbourne Cup runner.
A majority share in Italian star Voila Ici has been purchased by Queensland-based John Haseler with the prime intention of contesting this year’s BMW Caulfield Cup and Emirates Melbourne Cup.
The dual Group 1 winner will fly back with Black Caviar and complete two weeks post-arrival quarantine alongside the Diamond Jubilee winner at the Werribee International Horse Centre.
Bloodstock agent Rob Roulston, who brokered the deal on behalf of Haseler, said that Voila Ici will provide Moody with a genuine Cups contender for this year’s Spring Racing Carnival.
“He’s passed the ballot for both the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups and as a dual Group 1 winner he’ll have a weight that will guarantee him a start in both races,” Roulston said.
“He’s been the best horse in Italy for the past two years and whilst he is a stallion he’s been purchased specifically to contest this year’s Cups.”
The seven-year-old grey, who has built up a remarkable record winning 11 races and placing in 10 others in a 26-start career, is renowned for his tenacity.
“He’s a real bulldog and is never beaten in his races,” Roulston explained.
“Whilst he’s only raced once past 2400 metres in his career, that was a win in a Group 2 at Longchamp in France over 2800 metres and he is bred to stay.”
Roulston explained that Voila Ici will arrive in a forward condition, thus allowing Moody some flexibility in programming his path to the Cups.
“The horse is in full training now in the UK with Ed Dunlop and Peter will be in a position to continue his training whilst in quarantine at Werribee,” he explained.
“It hasn’t been mapped out as yet where he’ll first start but given he’s got the fitness base already he’s a chance to contest some of the earlier weight-for-age races in the lead-up to the Cups.”
Moody, who was enjoyed great success this season with former European galloper Manighar, has another Italian import set to join his Caulfield stables in the coming weeks too.
The lightly raced Sneak A Peek, who defeated Voila Ici and another recent Australian acquisition Jakkalberry last September, is currently in quarantine at Eastern Creek, NSW.
With no training facilities at Eastern Creek, Sneak A Peak, who has been purchased by clients of the Moody stable, will require more work than Voila Ici before he sees a racetrack in Australia.
As a four-year-old veteran of just five starts, he may be set for a late spring feature like the Zipping Classic this year with connections likely to take a longer term approach to his career Down Under.
Moody’s two previous Melbourne Cup runners were Vouvray (15th, 2005) and Schumpeter (22nd, 2003), with Vouvray also fourth in the 2004 Caulfield Cup - the best placing attained by six Moody-trained starters in his home track feature.