Businessman Nick Moraitis’ horseracing love affair is coming to an end, with the owner of champion galloper Might and Power scaling back involvement to focus on business interests.
Might and Power matched the achievements of Phar Lap – widely considered Australia’s most successful racehorse – to also claim a trifecta of victories in premier races, the Caulfield Cup, the Melbourne Cup and the Cox Plate.
In 1997, it won the Caulfield Cup and the Melbourne Cup, and took out the Cox Plate the following year, before Moraitis retired the horse.
“You’ve got to remember one thing … Might and Power is only the second racehorse in the history of racing that’s won that trio,” Moraitis recently told TV host Graham Richardson.
“Only the mighty Phar Lap won those three races, so he’s in the history books Might and Power, and you actually never saw the best of him because he got injured. After the Cox Plate, he got hurt and only God knows what he may have shown us.”
Richardson reminisced about a Moraitis moment he considered famous, and which offered an insight to his character: “As you went to grab your horse, I think the bloke said ‘well, you’ve just won a million dollars’ and you said, ‘fxxx’ the money’.”
“You said that to millions of people watching – I thought it was terrific,” Richardson added. An amused Moraitis explained, “well it just came out unfortunately”.
Moraitis said he’d owned a few horses in recent decades and more recently had moved into horse breeding, but now he was ready to retire. “I can assure you at my age I’m getting right out,” Moraitis said.
In late 2012, after a decade stint on the Sydney Turf Club committee, he was considered likely to be appointed to the board of Racing NSW, but it wasn’t to be.
That’s when Moraitis began to question the future of the industry, believing not enough was being done to encourage participation and with too much focus on celebration.
“You’ve got to look after customers and the unfortunate thing about it is, we’re a dying race,” Moraitis told The Australian at the time.
“I look around the race meetings today, you get a lot of young people there but they’re only there to get drunk and look for young sheilas somewhere. We need people in racing who are going to support it.”