Black Caviar can end disrespect for Aussie racing
The racing world will be watching when Black Caviar races in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes over 1200 metres at Royal Ascot in England on June 23.
The mare from Caulfield in Melbourne will fly the Australian flag against an international field in one of Europe’s best sprint races.
And victory would help put Australian racing on the map. Since 2003, Australian horses (Choisir, Takeover Target, Miss Andretti, Scenic Blast and Starspangledbanner) have won six races at Royal Ascot.
But none of those horses were champions like Black Caviar.
Peter Moody’s mare will bring new interest to Royal Ascot.
For what is probably the first time ever, the best horse in the Northern Hemisphere, Frankel, and the best horse in the Southern Hemisphere, Black Caviar, will compete at the same meeting.
And the Australian mare, with a 100 percent record from 21 starts, will showcase the best Australian breeding and racing has to offer.
With victory, Black Caviar’s owners may hold ambitions of hosting the world’s best sprinters in Australia; having travelled 17,000 kilometres to race them in Europe.
But for too long Australian racing has been disregarded.
Over a period of six weeks in the Melbourne Spring Carnival, Australia produces some of the best racing in the world.
Yet for decades, the world’s best horses have bypassed Melbourne to race at November’s Breeders’ Cup meeting in the USA.
And those not good enough for the Breeders’ Cup have raced in Hong Kong’s international meeting in December.
Australia is overlooked. The best we can hope for are the great staying handicappers of the world. The horses too slow for weight-for-age racing, too slow for great derbies and too slow for the races of prestige like the Arc de Triomphe.
We can look forward to an international Melbourne Cup – a race held in the highest regard by the Australian people – infiltrated by close to a dozen of the world’s best pluggers.
Our racing deserves better.
The Cox Plate is easily the best race in the Southern Hemisphere. Yet in its 90 year history only a handful of internationals have competed in it.
Even when the race was the only Southern Hemisphere leg of the Emirates World Series of Racing – a failed attempt at a world championship of horse racing -we could only draw four horses from Europe and none from America.
Three of those four horses didn’t finish in the top eight.
Grey Swallow finished last in the 2006 Cox Plate and was retired after it. German Paolini finished 12th in 2004 and unheralded Irish horse Make No Mistake finished eighth in 1999.
Grandera – winner of the 2002 Irish Champion Stakes, the greatest race in Ireland and a feature of the European circuit – ran third in the 2002 Cox Plate behind Northerly and is probably the best thoroughbred from north of the equator ever to have raced on Australian soil.
The Patinack Farm Classic is run over 1200 metres at Flemington in November each year and boasts prizemoney of $1m. It is one of the premier sprint races in the world.
Since the race was upgraded to Group One status in 2007, not one horse from outside of Australia has ever raced in the Patinack.
To put that into perspective, last December’s Hong Kong Sprint over 1200 metres, offered $A1.9m in prizemoney and drew six visitors from Asia and Europe.
The Moonee Valley Racing Club has altered the calendar for this year’s Cox Plate and is running the Group One Manikato Stakes over 1200m on the eve of the 2040m weight-for-age classic.
The MVRC are hoping to draw an international field for the race; hoping for Black Caviar to create such a stir in England that owners and trainers of the best sprinters in the world feel compelled to race the mare in Australia.
And, as a follow-on from that, the aim is to have those same owners and trainers bringing their best horses for the Cox Plate in years to come.
The general consensus is that Australian middle-distance racing isn’t up to world standard. This idea should be put to the test by the world’s best horses.
Our prizemoney is good. Our tracks are good. Our racing is good.
It’s time the world stopped disrespecting Australian racing.
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