Peter Gough

As a lifelong racing tragic who has enjoyed some success as an owner, Peter Gough was already fully immersed in the industry and so thought nothing of taking the next step and diving headfirst into the world of breeding.
Peter went into partnership with his friends and fellow owners Jen Fitzpatrick, Terry O’Connor and Cath Fry on a Charm Spirit filly, which trainer Pat Carey purchased on their behalf at the 2019 New Zealand Bloodstock Sales – Book 2.
The quartet had previously raced her half-brother Maclairey, who won the 2019 Yarra Valley Cup, while Terry and Cath also part-owned her dam, Dame Claire, a real stalwart whose achievements included winning the Listed Andrew Ramsden at Flemington and finishing third in the Adelaide Cup.
Although her pedigree appealed, X-rays had identified a significant issue with the filly’s knees, which resulted in her selling for the knockdown price of just $15,000. That investment appeared even shrewder when a subsequent operation fixed the problem, meaning the group faced the decision of whether to have some fun and race her in their colours or start preparing her for life as a broodmare.
After opting for the former course of action, the ownership group sent the horse – now named Clara Belle – to Group 1-winning Kiwi trainer Stephen Marsh; but they might have regretted the decision after seeing their purchase finish down the field in her first two starts (albeit on unsuitably heavy tracks).
However, a minor placing on her third start restored some much-needed confidence, and hope turned to elation when she broke her maiden at Cambridge at the end of June. Sadly the trans-Tasman bubble had been suspended due to Melbourne’s lockdown, meaning Peter and Co. were forced to shelve their grand plans to see their girl race.
But watching on from home in Northcote, Peter felt a mixture of joy and relief which vindicated the decision to buy Clara Belle as a future broodmare prospect and dip his toe in an industry which, by his own admission, he knew little about until relatively recently.
“Clara Belle will be my first foray into breeding, and I’ve been really enjoying it so far,” he said.
“It really started as a conversation with Jen at the races one day, we got talking and she suggested I go in with her and the others on their next purchase with a view to breeding from her. So that’s basically where it all started, and the more I looked into the background and science behind breeding, the more it intrigued me.
“I went to the Inglis Premier Sale for the first time this year, which I really enjoyed, and I learned so much. I didn’t really know much about selecting horses on type or page, or on their physical attributes or how they move; and whilst I’m by no means an expert, I know an awful lot more now than I did before.”
The next decision the group will face is when to call time on Clara Belle’s racing career and transition her to her new life as a broodmare, before choosing a stallion which will give her the best possible chance of producing a foal capable of making an impression on the racetrack.
When he gets some downtime from his day job as Chief Financial Officer for Fitzroys commercial real estate agency, Peter enjoys studying sire lines to expand his knowledge and is looking forward to embarking on his breeding journey in the company of his co-owners.
“The rubber will really hit the road in the spring,” said Peter.
“That’s probably the time that we’ll have to sit down and think about which sires which might be suitable for her – and also in our budget! I’m really looking forward to learning more, and I’m in very good hands with Jen, Terry and Cath as my sounding boards. I’m still working my way through TBV’s Stallion Guide, it’s a great publication, and I’m fascinated by the range of stallions available in Victoria, even if a few of them might be out of our price range!”
In the more immediate future, Peter will continue to racehorses in partnership with his racing fanatic father Ellis, brother Tim and son William, who is close to completing a degree in veterinary medicine at Melbourne University.
They were taken on an exciting ride by the Greg-Eurell trained mare Sassy Salitage, who burst onto the scene with two wins followed by a second in the Listed Atlantic Jewel and a fourth in the Group 3 Typhoon Tracy Stakes.
Peter and his 85-year-old father currently have shares in several others horses trained by Eurell, as well as an Akeed Mofeed mare with Charlotte Littlefield, a Frosted gelding prepared by Luke Oliver and Brazen Beau filly under the care of Colin Little.
Ellis’ enthusiasm for purchasing shares in racehorses was reined in by Peter’s mother, who imposed a strict limit on the numbers. But since her passing, Ellis has freely indulged his passion – with Peter joking that the lights in the living room flash every time his father buys a new one.
“It’s Mum’s way of letting Dad know that she’s still watching him from up there,” said Peter.