Hardy three-year-old Club Command became the 600th winner for the combination of jockey Luke Nolen and trainer Peter Moody with his hard-fought success in Saturday’s $70,000 Champagne Pommery Champagne Mastery Awards Handicap (1400m) at Caulfield.
Ready To Rip (More Than Ready) provided the team’s 599th victory when he won the Group 3 Bletchingly Stakes while two-year-old Planet Voyage (Exceed And Excel) provided their first win of the day in the Natalie Hunter Handicap (1200m).
Club Command (Commands) raced outside the three-year-old age group for the first time in Saturday’s assignment. Nolen had to overcome a wide gate to position Club Command just off the pace early in the race.
Club Command had no trouble with the heavy track, travelling into the race comfortably but the pacemaker, the $41 chance Guru Bob (Ishiguru) refused to yield to the favourite. Guru Bob forced Club Command to dig deep under Nolen’s urgings before getting home narrowly.
“It’s a big effort isn’t it,” Moody said of the duo’s effort. “It’s a two-way street and it has worked extremely well for both of us.
“I think we started about nine or 10 years ago so it’s something I think we are both very proud of.”
Club Command defeated Guru Bob by a short head while Prince Obama (Clangalang) finished another seven lengths away in third spot. The field completed the 1400 metres in 1:26.40 on a heavy (8) track while the field ran the last 600 metres in 36.84 seconds. Club Command started at $2.80 on track but paid $2.70 on the Victorian TAB.
Moody said he wanted Club Command to continue to race in the early part of his four-year-old season but was prepared to spell the horse after six runs, which have yielded four wins and more than $150,000 in prizemoney for his owners – the 21st Century Trade Group Syndicate.
“He’s an extremely tough horse, he’s had a wonderful preparation. He’s raced ultra-consistent all the way through,” Moody said.
“He’s probably nearing the end of his campaign. We might have a throw at the stumps in one of those early spring races while he’s rock hard and fit.
“If he doesn’t, he’s done a hell of a job and well deserved of a good break.”
Moody paid $150,000 for Club Command at the 2012 Gold Coast Magic Millions Yearling Sale.