Black Caviar has secured her special place in history high atop a pedestal in Australian racing. Over the years, ‘Caviar has been a prime example of everything that a great racehorse should be: a model of the highest quality, consistency, speed, and soundness. Rarely do such elite animals grace our pristine courses, and enflaming our hearts with burning passion for the elusive perfect beast that is the Thoroughbred racehorse.
Frankel and Black Caviar (ranked as the two best horses in 2011 by World Thoroughbred Rankings respectively) took the headlines in international racing news by winning all their races against top horses. These two horses dominated racing without ever competing beyond the one mile distance. Musir has become a massive force at the Dubai World Cup Carnival while competing around the distance of one mile, and Goldikova became a legend campaigning as a miler. All these horses are proclaimed as impressive animals, and appropriately so, but America cannot as easily reward accolades to our own top sprinters and middle distance horses. For example, when Euroears broke the track record in Hollywood Park’s Bing Crosby in monumental fashion, it never garnered proper recognition. Kentucky Derby hopefuls that do not enjoy longer distances are derogatively described as “horses that cannot handle the distance.” Caleb’s Posse, who had an astounding three-year-old campaign around the one mile distance in 2011 lost the three year old male division at the Eclipse Awards to Animal Kingdom - another extraordinary horse that had only won a single prominent race, and competed at that level for only three races. That prominent race, being the Kentucky Derby, was contested at 1 ¼ miles.
Black Caviar remained unbeaten in her seventeen career starts by winning the Group II Australia Stakes at Mooney Valley. This six-year-old mare that ranks as the second best horse in World Thoroughbred Rankings has put the spotlight on Australian racing, attracting an incredible following even beyond her home country. So many people came out to the races to watch Black Caviar win the six furlong Australia Stakes that officials opened the gates, and were forced to allow spectators free admission due to the long lines. Jockeys who weren’t riding assembled at the entrance of the stewards’ tower to watch this mighty mare make history. “She’s great for the industry.” Her trainer Peter Moody said after the win. “We need this. It puts (racing) on the front pages for the right reasons.”
Black Caviar did not face her toughest competition in the Australia Stakes, but kept up with her form from the previous year by winning with great ease. Peter Moody stated, “It’s probably the fittest I’ve had her first time up, and it’s great to see her back. She’s been pleasing us at home, and it was great to see her do that.”
Luke Nolan, who had ridden her to victory in fourteen starts, astutely navigated Black Caviar over the Mooney Valley turf course for the triumph. Breaking from the rail, Black Caviar settled into a comfortable third behind Crystal Lily and Hinchinbrook who quickly drew away in a hot duel for the lead. Black Caviar, leading the other horses, began to close in around the turn in this five furlong event. Nolan made a wise move by angling the mare three paths wide coming into the home straight, and she swiftly seized command. Black Caviar always had the victory in hand during her stretch run, but opened up daylight on the field just over 100 meters out from the wire without urging.
Black Caviar is slated to run once more in Caulfield’s CF Orr Stakes on February 11th before possibly shipping off to Dubai for either the Golden Shaheen or Al Quoz Sprint on the undercard of the Dubai World Cup. Indubitably, she will face a top class field of sprinters in either race, both of which would be a solid measuring stick of her talent. If all goes well into the Royal Ascot meeting, it is likely that we will see her challenge more of the world’s leading sprinters in the Golden Jubilee or July Cup. She could also run in Longchamp’s Prix de la Foret in October.
Though Australian racing is somewhat secluded, it should be considered a top racing venue because of the country’s recent success on an international scale, and that the industry’s top breeders support Australia by shipping their prestigious stallions for the Southern Hemisphere breeding season. I applaud ‘Caviar’s connections for sending her abroad to challenge her against the top racehorses the world has to offer.