I was intending not to write about this topic because all you read or hear about horse racing in the mainstream press at the moment tends to be the record breaking exploits of Black Caviar. That’s a good thing because usually if there are articles about racing in the papers they are to do with positive drug tests or the links of some participants in the sport to organized crime, so to have racing news reported because of the excellence of a horse is a positive step. Even my partner who has very little interest in horse racing is excited by her unbeaten streak and would be genuinely disappointed if she got cleaned up.
On Saturday Black Caviar had significant obstacles to overcome. She was back in distance from 1400m to 1000m and was up against her closest rival, perhaps her only rival in Australia, Hay List. Buffering, a genuine speed machine was also in the race to make sure there would be no cheap sectionals. The time recorded speaks for itself, it was basically a track record, certainly the quickest since Flemington was renovated in 2006/07. Between the 600m and 400m she ran 9.98 seconds, which just does not happen. This is basically as fast as a horse can go.
After Black Caviar won the Orr Stakes I said to a friend that I thought she could win the Cox Plate if that was what Peter Moody set her for. She shares the trait that Cox Plate winners have of being able to sustain high speed over more than 600m, as well as being relaxed.
Black Caviar’s performance in the Newmarket Handicap last year under a big weight for a mare was incredible and that was the race that saw her rated the best in the world. She won effortlessly with a Golden Slipper winner three lengths astern, a blue diamond winner back in midfield and two other Group I winners among the beaten brigade.
So what can the great mare achieve?
It’s been proven beyond doubt in recent years that the best sprinters from Australia are better than any in the world. So the best Australian sprinter that anybody has ever seen should be unbeatable anywhere in the world up to 1200m. The ultimate test for Black Caviar would be a testing mile on an undulating course in England against Frankel. I’m sure she could beat him anywhere in the world at 1400m but if she could beat him at a mile in his own back yard there could be no doubting her status as the best in the world.
Will she handle travel? She has a super smart trainer overseeing her preparation, she’s a relaxed mare and judging by her sheer size it would appear that she’s a good doer but travel from Australia to Europe is gruelling for a horse.
Beyond that, the 2013 Cox Plate is hers if connections want it. The main thing in Black Caviar’s favour in seeking to keep her unbeaten record intact is Peter Moody. He seems intent on keeping her in races she can’t be beaten in so if she turns up, you can assume she’s there to win and the contingencies have been taken care of.