Moody’s Recommendation Rings True

Highly Recommended relished the jump to 2040m in the Alister Clark Stakes.

He had to survive a protest, but Highly Recommended earned a possible tilt at next month's Group 1 AJC Derby with victory in tonight's Top Cut Alister Clark Stakes (2040m) at Moonee Valley.

The mega-consistent colt vindicated Peter Moody's decision to remain in Melbourne for the $200,000 Group 2 rather than head to Sydney tackle Manawanui, Mosheen and company in the Randwick Guineas with his strong win in the 2040-metre event.

The victory confirmed Moody's belief that the son of Fastnet Rock, who finished fifth behind Mosheen in the 1600m Australian Guineas, was looking for ten furlongs which he will get another shot at in the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas on 31 March.

“He's raced at the top level his whole career and we've really looked forward to getting him out to the mile-and-a-quarter,” Moody said. “ We targeted the Rosehill Guineas for him off the back of his spring campaign and it's slowly starting to come together.

“Very few horses win their first run at a mile-and-a-quarter, so it stands him in good stead going forward because they usually improve considerably off that one run at that trip.

“He's beaten a Derby winner (Sangster) there, so we might have to look beyond the Guineas maybe.”
The $2 million AJC Australian Derby (2400m) is at Randwick on 14 April.
Highly Recommended held a half-length margin over Ethiopia at the end of the Alister Clark Stakes, but had to survive a protest from that horse's rider, Rhys McLeod, before being declared the winner.

McLeod alleged interference around 200m from home and while stewards conceded he was impeded, they weren't convinced it cost him the race and let the placings stand.

Victoria Derby winner Sangster, who set a fast tempo and looked to have pinched the race at the 400m, held on for third in a promising return to form after two disappointing runs back from a spell.

Winning jockey Luke Nolen, who combined with Moody to win last Saturday's Australian Cup with Manighar, said it was a good performance and expected improvement in Sydney with the run at 2040m under his belt.

“Even though he pulled a little in the middle stages, I thought the overall performance was quite good and he's obviously a horse of a very good pedigree, so it's important to win Black Type with these type of horses,” Nolen said.

“Stepping to 2000 metres for the first time, they've got to be usually pretty good win and even better to win in stakes grade, so Pete's obviously done a very good job with him.”

Highly Recommended's win completed a winning double for Moody and Nolen, who combined to win the Essendon Mazda 55 Second Challenge heat with Kulgrinda.

The classy four-year-old wasn't able to better General Truce's benchmark time of 55.28secs for the 955m journey, but she still cruised to an effortless win under 60kg in 57.24secs.
scroll up scroll down


  • On Like Fontiton

    The Robert Smerdon trained Fontiton smashed her rivals in the opener on Sportingbet Cox Plate Day, winning the $250,000 Inglis Banner for 2yo’s by six lengths. It was visually stunning, something rarely seen in 1000m races. The win has ‘ratings experts’ salivating at what her future may hold.

  • Cox Plate Carnival Recap

    Over 35,000 fans flocked to The Valley during the Cox Plate Carnival to witness 17 races in less than 24 hours, many on course describing the two Group One races as ‘the best finishes to the Manikato Stakes and Cox Plate in the past decade’.

  • Fawkner draws brilliantly, fancied international Adelaide wide

    COX Plate favourite Fawkner has drawn ideally for Saturday’s big race, but import Adelaide and rags-to-riches Tasmanian galloper The Cleaner fared poorly.

  • Lankan Rupee draws barrier nine, jockey Craig Newitt confident despite alley

    LANKAN Rupee’s jockey Craig Newitt admitted the sprint star’s barrier nine is far from ideal heading into Friday night’s Manikato Stakes.

  • Cox Plate third acceptors

    With the Sportingbet Cox Plate just under two weeks away, a list of 41 third acceptors was announced yesterday.

  • Second Acceptors for Manikato Stakes Announced

    Second acceptances for the Sportingbet Manikato Stakes, the feature race held on Cox Plate eve were announced yesterday.

  • Happy Trails and Paul Beshara reunited with common goal To go one better in Cox Plate

    AT 65, Paul Beshara was a typical grey nomad cruising around Asia and then marvelling at Australia’s beauty in a caravan.

  • The Cleaner came through his Cox Plate dress rehearsal by winning the JRA Cup at Mooney Valley

    TASSIE front running cult hero The Cleaner came through his dress rehearsal for the Cox Plate with a typical gutsy performance to lead throughout to win the JRA Cup (2040m).

  • Gai's rising three-year-old set for Cox Plate

    Trainer Gai Waterhouse has revealed that she has set rising three-year-old Almalad for the 2014 Sportingbet Cox Plate that will be held at Moonee Valley on October 25 during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival.

  • Happy Trails Back On Track

    Trainer Paul Beshara said the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes winner Happy Trails was progressing well ahead of his racetrack return and would follow a similar path to last year which culminated in a narrow miss in the $3 million Cox Plate behind Shamus Award at Moonee Valley last October.

  • OTI Not Chopping Cox Plate Plans

    A Sportingbet Cox Plate appearance is still part of the plans for Simon O’Donnell and Terry Henderson’s Melbourne-based bloodstock company OTI after their recent French purchase Gailo Chop finished fourth in the Belmont Derby Invitational Stakes at New York.

  • Mukhadram Considers Cox Plate Invite After Group 1 Victory

    Connections of Mukhadram will give thought to the Sportingbet Cox Plate later in the campaign after the Hamdan Al Maktoum-owned galloper broke through at Group One level in the Coral-Eclipse Stakes at Sandown.

  • First International Runner Arrives For Sportingbet Cox Plate

    Singapore Airlines International Cup winner Dan Excel has arrived in Sydney ahead of his preparation for the Sportingbet Cox Plate.

  • Cox Plate still on agenda for Galio Chop

    FRENCH stayer Gailo Chop, who now competes in the OTI Racing colours of Simon O’Donnell and Terry Henderson, will loom into Cox Plate calculations if he performs well in Saturday’s Belmont Derby in New York.

  • Cauthen follows Ocean Park Route

    One-time boom New Zealand colt Cauthen is back in work and out to follow a compatriot’s well-worn path to Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) success.

  • Rising towards Cox Plate

    Trainer Donna Logan is yet to decide on a 2014 Spring Racing Carnival target for Australian Oaks winner Rising Romance, but revealed that the rising four-year-old will be nominated for the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) and Group 1 Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m).

  • Moody's Group 1 Dissident to tackle Cox Plate

    Rising four year old Dissident will be aimed towards the Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 25 during the Melbourne Spring Carnival.

  • Queen's Horse to target Cox Plate

    Trainer Gai Waterhouse has revealed that the 2014 Sportingbet Cox Plate is the most likely Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival target for imported galloper Carlton House.

  • John Moore Trio Among The List Of Sportingbet Cox Plate Invites

    The Moonee Valley Racing Club has today issued first round invitations to ten of the leading Weight-For-Age middle distance thoroughbreds from all areas of the globe to contest the Group 1 $3M 2014 Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040 metres) on Saturday 25th October.

  • Super Cool Rested and Ready For Cox Plate

    Flemington trainer Mark Kavanagh is confident that a rejuvenated Super Cool can make his mark on the upcoming Spring Racing Carnival.