Farewell tour will be fitting end for Black Caviar
Black-Caviar wins Diamond Jubilee to earn greatness (AFP)
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Black Caviar won’t be seen at the races again in 2012. And it’s possible she’ll never race again.
That news broke last week after the champion mare was released from quarantine at Werribee, having returned to Australia following her narrow victory at Royal Ascot.
The decision to skip the spring was smart. Black Caviar is still recovering after tearing two muscles in the Diamond Jubilee on June 23.
Prior to her English trip, the six-year old mare had only been given 21 days off in the previous year. Black Caviar will now enjoy her first spell in over two years.
The mare, the winner in each of her 22 starts, was scheduled to race in the Manikato Stakes on the final Friday of October on Cox Plate eve, before attempting to win her third consecutive Patinack Farm Classic on the final day of the spring.
But in a Carnival full of highlights, the Manikato and the Patinack are the only two for sprinters and in bypassing them, Black Caviar won’t be missing out on too much.
The decision to keep the mare away from the track until next year also rules out a trip to Hong Kong, where Black Caviar would’ve attempted to become only the second Australian-trained horse after Falvelon (who was victorious in the race in 2000 and 2001) to win the Hong Kong Sprint.
But after what unfolded in England, I don’t think anyone would’ve expected Peter Moody to travel his mare outside of Australia again.
Moody stated on Friday that he would visit the champ at her secretly-located spelling paddock in September before making a decision on whether Black Caviar would be brought into work.
If the mare moved back into Moody’s Caulfield stables, she would then be prepared for February’s Lightning Stakes at Flemington.
Moody also expressed a desire to travel the mare from Melbourne up the East coast of Australia on a farewell tour that would end at Brisbane’s Winter Carnival next May.
Regardless of whether Black Caviar races again, she will begin her career as a broodmare in 12 months, in time for the start of the 2013 breeding season.
If the decision is made to have Black Caviar partake in a final preparation, it would be fantastic for both the mare and the sport. Black Caviar would get the farewell she deserves and the Australian public would be given the opportunity to say goodbye to a well-loved champion.
At a time when racing is desperately searching for new blood, giving youngsters the opportunity to watch Black Caviar one last time can only be good for the sport.
Black Caviar’s victory at Royal Ascot will be the one that defines her career but the circumstances in which it took place – with injury, a narrow margin and a strangely unconvincing finish – mean it’s not the perfect end to the mare’s career.
I think Moody’s idea of a farewell tour is brilliant. The mare would begin her final preparation in the Lightning where she would attempt to become the first horse to win that race for a third time.
With an honour roll that includes the likes of Miss Andretti, Takeover Target, Choisir, Schillaci, Placid Ark, Storm Queen, Wenona Girl, Sky High and Todman, the Lightning Stakes is quite possibly Australia’s greatest sprint race.
And to win it three times – notwithstanding the fact she beat Hay List in the 2010 and 2011 Lightning Stakes – would have to be on a par with Kingston Town (Cox Plate) and Makybe Diva (Melbourne Cup) winning Australia’s greatest middle-distance and staying races three times. If she isn’t already there, this feat would surely propel Black Caviar to the legendary status enjoyed by “the King” and “the Mighty Mare”.
After the Lightning, Black Caviar would probably have one final start in her home town before travelling to Sydney for only the second time, where she would almost certainly run in the TJ Smith at Randwick before farewelling the racetrack at Brisbane’s Doomben racecourse in either the BTC Cup or Doomben 10000 next May.
I hope Black Caviar’s body allows her the opportunity to race in one last preparation.
One of my first racing memories is being at Randwick in April 1997 to see Octagonal’s last race in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes. The AJC celebrated the “The Big O’s” farewell by decking out the grandstands and lawns in the colour of the Octagonal’s silks – the hot pink ‘cerise’. Even though he finished second behind Intergaze, it’s something I’ll never forget.
Farewells are special moments in horse racing. It’s something a champion like Black Caviar most certainly deserves. And obviously we’d love her to win because that’s what Black Caviar’s all about.