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By Damian Browne | Thursday, January 30, 2020

Brownie’s Blog is the weekly blog of multiple Group 1 winning jockey Damian Browne. In this edition Brownie welcomes the news that Peter Moody is looking to return to training. He also lines up the likely upcoming clash between two crackerjack three-year-olds and uses their earnings to highlight the discrepancy between prize-money levels in Australia and New Zealand and what effect that has on both industries and, lastly, he makes a theoretical observation about a horse with a $2.8 million price tag. This is Brownie’s Blog – exclusive to HRO.

Confirmation of the news that Peter Moody will be returning to training hit the headlines this week. It is a welcome return.

It goes without saying that he way he was treated before deciding to quit training probably left a sour taste in his mouth when that whole issue exploded … yet it was still a shock when Peter said he was giving training away. It is just terrific to hear he is coming back. He is one of the great trainers and he is a great personality to boot.

I’ve always found with him that business is business when it is time for that. I wouldn’t say he is a hard man but there is a marked difference between the ‘business’ Peter Moody and who he is when that business is all done and dusted at six, seven, eight o’clock at night … when you can have a beer with him and a laugh and a joke.

It is very hard to be both of those … being a boss in the workplace and a friend on the other side … but it is absolutely to his credit that he can embrace both that strict work ethic and a relaxed down-time approach so well.

He’s been able to do that and those are the characteristics that got him so far in his career previously and I would assume we can expect more of the same.

He has got a great sense of humour but, at the same time, Peter has never been afraid to stand up and say what he thinks, whether that ruffles a few feathers or not, and there can be no doubt we need people like that within the industry.

I see Peter says he will have a much smaller operation this time around than he had before. I remember Peter Snowden said the same thing when he went out on his own … and look at him now.

I think it might be hard for him to say no to owners who have supported him for years and they come to him and say, ‘Peter, will you take another one?’

I’m sure Peter has worked it all out though and will also sort out those moments when they come along.

I just wish him all of the best, that’s for sure.


The different grades of racing provide the menu that racing enthusiasts feed on … for a variety of different reasons.

With two-year-olds there is the excitement of the unknown. You don’t always know what you have got or, even if they are showing something, how far they can progress.

With the older, established stars you can have a firm opinion and can be thrilled at their consistent high level of performance level … but, arguably, one of the most exciting scenarios is when rising stars tackle challenge after challenge, take it in their stride, and bustle their way up the ladder of success.

Two such horses seemed destined to clash in the near future … and that is a mouth-watering prospect!

The Clayton Chipperfield trained Catalyst has won six out of seven starts in New Zealand, including the Group 1, New Zealand 2000 Guineas. His only defeat came on debut, after which he was gelded, and since then he has carried all before him.

The David Vandyke trained Alligator Blood has won eight out of nine starts and came within a whisker of a Group 1 win in his only defeat in the Caulfield Guineas.

It has been proven over the years that the good Kiwi horses are pretty good and are up to the Australian ones. Both of these horses appear to be angling a path which could include the Australian Guineas and the All-Star Mile so it does look like they are on a collision course.

It is going to be very interesting if they do meet There is always the luck in running factor, but hopefully they both get their fair opportunity to see who comes out on top.

Of course, it won’t be just a two-horse race in either of those contests and it would be foolish to overlook other contenders, but Alligator Blood and Catalyst have been the ones creating the headlines … with good reason.


It has been fairly well documented that New Zealand has been struggling in terms of stake money. I think it might be getting a bit better now but the bottom line is when you have a good horse in New Zealand, like Catalyst, you almost have to come and try your luck in Australia and chase the big money.

The dollar does talk.

The current prize-money earnings of Alligator Blood and Catalyst make that point … $2.1 million (Australian dollars) for Alligator Blood and $476 000 (NZ dollars) for Catalyst, which includes only $294 000 for his Group 1 winning effort.

If they did not have such a big financial incentive to travel, New Zealand trainers might be happy to keep their better horses at home … but that is clearly not the case.

So, travel to Australia they will … and that, for as long as it lasts, is to advantage of the Australian racing industry as it creates additional interest and a different edge to the competition.


Talking big money … the $2.8 million purchase Mount Fuji produced a wow factor of a different and unwanted kind when he trailed in fourteen lengths behind the winner on debut at Randwick on Saturday.

You obviously can’t judge a horse on one run and the fact is that people paying that amount of money for a well-bred horse are in it for more than just the racing side of things but, still, to say it was a disappointing effort would be an understatement.

Before you get too carried away about that price tag though, you should remember that one person’s $2.8 million, to him or her, might be the equivalent of what $200 is to you and me.

It’s all relative so, in theory, they might not be feeling the pain as much as we think.

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Damian Browne
Damian Browne
Queensland's Own www.horseracingonly.com.au Queensland's Best