Premier Melbourne trainer Peter Moody considers Lights Of Heaven a genuine Melbourne Cup chance at Flemington tomorrow but still has a lot of respect for the European staying horses.
Lights Of Heaven is only one of a handful of horses that are fair dinkum Australian in the Melbourne Cup field that is dominated by overseas stayers.
“Their horses are bred and trained for staying races from the day they are foaled. Everything from the day they are broken in is to prepare then to run over the longer trips,” Moody said.
“Over the next twenty years they will probably win fifteen Melbourne Cups, the Cup has changed forever.”
“But I think Lights Of Heaven is a genuine chance. I take a lot of positives from her Caulfield Cup.”
The Group 1 $2.5m BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) is always regarded as one of the best form races leading up to the Melbourne Cup and horses that race well at Caulfield are usually in the finish at Flemington on the first Tuesday in November.
Lights Of Heaven didn’t shirk her task in the Caulfield Cup and after being headed by Melbourne Cup favourite Americain in the straight, fought back to grab third spot from the French stayer.
“She was headed by Americain in the straight but came back to beat him for third. And she was taking ground off the winner Dunaden and Alcopop,” Moody said.
“That form line looks even stronger after Alcopop won the Mackinnon on Saturday.”
Lights Of Heaven is by the great staying sire Zabeel and Moody has no doubts that she will be able to run out a strong 3200m after pulling up well after the Caulfield Cup.
“My mare has come on strongly since the Caulfield Cup. I think she can run the 3200m. She’s a mature five year old by Zabeel and this is the day we planned to get her to peak.”
“I’m satisfied she is going into the Cup at her very best.”
Moody has brought Lights Of Heaven along slowly through the Spring with one race in mind, the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) after the mare raced in outstanding form during the Winter in Brisbane.
The Zabeel mare went down narrowly to Mawingo in the Group 1 $500,000 Kirks Doomben Cup (2000m) at Doomben on May 19 before going on to win the Group 2 $250,000 Al Basti Equiworld Eagle Farm Cup (2200m) at Eagle Farm on June 2.
Moody backed the mare up the week later and after winning the Group 2 $300,000 Australian Special Metals Brisbane Cup (2400m) at Eagle Farm on June 9, Lights Of Heaven was sent to the paddock to spell before getting ready for the Spring.
Moody has taken all before him over the last few years and has been the premier trainer in Melbourne for the last three years as well as the leading Group 1 winner with eleven wins last year which included the victory by his super mare Black Caviar in the Group 1 £500,000 The Diamond Jubilee Stakes (6 furlongs) at Royal Ascot on June 23.
Stable rider Luke Nolen has also topped the jockey’s list over the last three years and along with Moody will be looking for his first Melbourne Cup to add to their trophy cabinets.
Lights Of Heaven is currently a $21 chance for tomorrow’s Cup which sees 2010 winner Americain heading the market at $6.50 with Dunaden and Mount Athos sharing the next line of betting at $7.50.
Last year’s runner-up Red Cadeaux is at $9.50 with Maluckyday at $14 and Green Moon and Galileo’s Choice at $16.
The Luca Cumani trained My Quest For Peace is the only other runner under the 20-1 mark at $17.