Moody not mucking around with Headway

Top mare Headway has just two starts this spring to convince premier trainer Peter Moody that she deserves another Group One campaign.

The four-year-old mare resumes in Saturday’s Group Three Aurie’s Star Handicap at Flemington over the same course and 1200m distance she scored her most prestigious victory in the Group One Coolmore Stud Stakes last November.

Headway has already amassed more than $1.1 million in stakes and Moody said it was pointless for her to train on in the spring if she could not be competitive at the elite level.

“If she doesn’t suggest to me in two runs’ time that I can win another Group One with her then she can go to the breeding barn,” Moody said.


“She is a Group One winner and Group One placegetter (second in the 2009 Golden Slipper Stakes) so there is no value in her going around in mares’ Group Three races for the next 12 months.

“Her first foal will be worth $500,000 no matter what and if she was a colt she would be syndicated for $20 million on what she’s done so far.”

With Headway’s racing career on the line, Moody won’t waste any runs with the daughter of Charge Forward who is owned by Tony Santic.

Moody is planning ahead as if Headway will race on through the spring and has vowed not to start her in the Aurie’s Star on a heavy track.

The Coolmore Stud Stakes was her last of four wins in 14 starts and Moody blames a gut-busting first-up run, when fifth to Nicconi in the Group One Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington in January, for her subsequent unplaced performances in the Oakleigh Plate, Newmarket Handicap and Sangster Stakes.

“She never really picked up after her first-up run,” Moody said.

“I don’t want to risk that happening again and run her over 1200 metres on a heavy track even though she handles the ground.”

Stable and premiership-winning jockey Luke Nolen is riding in the Shergar Cup jockeys’ challenge in England and has passed up the Headway ride to Damien Oliver on Saturday.

Nolen has talked up Headway in her early gallops and after a jumpout last month told Moody she was going better than ever.

“Luke trialled her three or four weeks ago and said that it was the best she’s trialled in her life,” Moody said.

“He said ‘Don’t worry about her last preparation’.

“She is going really well and if I think she is going to be competitive in a Manikato Stakes or races like that this spring then we will keep her going.”

Early jockey engagements for the Aurie’s Star include Brad Rawiller on Royal Ida, Glen Boss for Beltrois, Craig Williams on Grand Duels, Craig Newitt for Spacecraft, Chris Symons on Cheronbutch and Dan Nikolic for Uxorious.