By The Numbers

Moody’s luck with the ‘ladies’ continues

Eleven years ago, Peter Moody created Royal Ascot history with Black Caviar and now, in the second iteration of his training career, the stats say fillies and mares are playing an even bigger role in his success.

Few racing comebacks in recent years have created more interest than when Peter Moody returned to training in May 2020 after a four-year hiatus.

Moody had been one of Australian racing’s most prominent horsemen through the first 15 years of this century, training 53 Group 1 winners before stepping away suddenly in 2016.

Black Caviar (Bel Esprit) was the horse who catapulted Moody to international prominence, but she wasn’t the only filly or mare to star for the proud Queensland-born trainer. Before Black Caviar there was six-time Group 1 winner Typhoon Tracy (Red Ransom), who won Australian Horse Of The Year in 2009/10, and, in Moody’s early years, Group 1-winning fillies and mares such as Ancient Song (Canny Lad), Sky Cuddle (Snippets) and Cinque Cento (Nothin’ Leica Dane).

But the statistics reveal that the second phase of Moody’s career, from his comeback three years ago until now, has seen him lean even further on his fillies and mares. Up until 2016, 46.7 per cent of Moody’s wins as a trainer came from fillies or mares, but since 2020, that has grown to 53.5 per cent.

That coincides with the similar growth in proportion of his starters which are fillies and mares. Pre Moody’s hiatus that figure stood at 46.2 per cent, but since his return that has grown to 50.4 per cent.

Moody’s affinity for the ‘ladies’ has hit new heights in the current Australian season, 2022/23, where a remarkable 63.1 per cent of his wins have been from his fillies and mares. Put in raw numbers, Moody has had 70 wins from his fillies and mares compared to 41 from his colts and geldings.

Moody’s fillies and mares have statistically overperformed, with a winning strikerate for those horses this season at 22.7 per cent, compared to 15.4 per cent for the males. Eight of Moody’s 12 stakes wins this season have also come from his fillies and mares.

Peter Moody – progeny success ratios by sex

  Wins   Starts
Season Male Female   Male Female
2022/23 36.9% 63.1%   46.4% 53.6%
2021/22 55.4% 44.6%   50.7% 49.3%
2020/21 51.2% 48.8%   55.6% 44.4%
Career 52.7% 47.3%   52.3% 47.7%

 Only two of the current Top 20 Australian trainers (by wins) have a higher ratio of wins from their female horses over their males, with Moody leading the way. He is joined by Western Australian Adam Durrant (56 per cent), while Queenslanders Steven O’Dea and Matthew Hoysted and renowned fillies’ trainer Kris Lees are on 50 per cent exactly.

That statistic of male/female win ratio varies widely among leading trainers.

Australia’s top training partnership Ciaron Maher and David Eustace have a comparatively high female representation among their wins this year, with 49.8 per cent achieved from 43.6 per cent of runners. That list includes Group 1 winners Coolangatta (Written Tycoon), Affaire A Suivre (Astern), Ruthless Dame (Tavistock), Bella Nipotina (Pride Of Dubai), Royal Merchant (Merchant Navy) and Snapdancer (Choisir).

Highest ratio of mare/filly wins among Top 20 trainers:

Trainers Female Male
Peter Moody 63.1% 36.9%
Adam Durrant 56.0% 44.0%
Kris Lees 50.0% 50.0%
Steven O’Dea and Matthew Hoysted 50.0% 50.0%
Ciaron Maher and David Eustace 49.8% 50.2%

Chris Waller, the champion trainer of Australia for the past four seasons, has 263 wins this season, but just 28.9 per cent are from his fillies and mares, who have a winning strikerate of 11.4 per cent.

It’s a surprisingly low representation from a trainer who is most famous as the man who oversaw Winx’s (Street Cry) remarkable career, but Waller’s overall career statistics tell us that 35.2 per cent of his wins have come from fillies and mares.

That ratio has dipped since Winx’s retirement in 2019, from 40 per cent in 2019/20, to 38.4 per cent in 2020/21 to 35.41 per cent last season. Participation levels, that is the number of female starters, follow a similar downward pattern.

But that is also due to the Waller stable’s increasing focus on colts and stallion prospects, highlighted by the likes of this season’s Group 1-winning two-year-olds Shinzo (Snitzel) and Militarize (Dundeel). Across his career, 6.3 per cent of Waller’s wins have come through his colts, (either two-year-old or three-year-old) but this season that proportion stands at 13.3 per cent.

His percentage of starts from his colts has lifted from 7.1 per cent of his total in 2019/20 to ten per cent this season. In real terms, he has already had more colt starters and winners this season – 35 from 209 – than he had last campaign and there are still six weeks remaining of 2022/23.

James Cummings’ ratio of winners is similarly slanted towards the colts, entires and geldings over fillies and mares. While the males from the Godolphin stable have provided 106 wins to date, the females have had just 58, 35.4 per cent of the total.

What is fascinating is that in 2020/21, that ratio for Cummings was in the fillies and mares’ favour, with 61.7 per cent of his wins as a trainer coming from females. That dropped to 45.6 per cent last season and substantially again this season.

Like Waller, a significant part of that change has come from an increase in the wins from colts, and in his case, entires. Cummings has had 35 wins from his two and three-year-old colts this season, a jump of ten from 2021/22 and 15 from the season prior, but he has also had a significant increase of 14, thanks largely to Anamoe (Street Boss), from his entires.

Add in 57 victories from Godolphin geldings and the number of winners from the males is 106 to date in 2022/23, the highest it has been since Cummings’ first season in charge, 2018/19, when it stood at 123.

Number of wins by colts (2YO/3YO) per season

Season Chris Waller James Cummings Maher-Eustace
2022/23* 35 35 26
2021/22 31 25 34
2020/21 35 20 39
2019/20 22 27 36
2018/19 22 23 26

*Season not yet completed

Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott are another prominent stable with a comparatively low winning representation from fillies and mares, which stands at 28.2 per cent this season.

Across their Waterhouse and Bott partnership, that ratio stands at 36.7 per cent, but has trended lower than that in recent seasons. It was 34.2 per cent last season and 27.7 per cent in 2020/21.

That is partially due to the fact that this season has seen 24 racetrack victories from colts from Tulloch Lodge, the most in a campaign in the partnership’s history. Those victories represent 17.8 per cent of all stable wins, which is again a record high.

The statistics indicate that the trend towards colts for these big stables is not just to do with their prospects as possible stallions. Return on investment in terms of prize-money has become a key measure of success for stables and the numbers reveal that, on average, fillies and mares earn considerably less per start.

Across the Top 20 trainers we looked at, $269 million in prize-money has been earned this season, with 70.8 per cent earned by colts, geldings and entires and 29.2 per cent by fillies and mares. The respective representation in terms of starters from the two sets of horses is 59.3 per cent to 40.7 per cent, while in terms of wins that ratio is 60.1 per cent to 39.9 per cent.

In real terms, that breaks down to the average dollars earned per start being $20,033 for males and $12,054 for females.


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