Black Caviar to race in Sydney after stand-off

Justin Cinque Columnist

By Justin Cinque, Justin Cinque is a Roar Expert

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    Who is ready to take up Black Caviar's mantle? (Image: Julian Smith/AAP)

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    Earlier in February, one of Black Caviar’senior part-owners – Neil Werrett – told Melbourne’s Radio Sport National that, as a Sydneysider, it was his desire to see Black Caviar race in Sydney this campaign.

    Werrett is one of Black Caviar’s senior part-owners.

    Shortly after the great mare cantered to a soft victory in Friday night’s William Reid Stakes, trainer Peter Moody confirmed that Randwick’s TJ Smith Stakes (1200m, Group 1, weight-for-age) on April 13 was the likely and logical next start for Black Caviar.

    “The only thing that will stop her running is wet tracks. Onward to the TJ now,” Moody declared.

    But a stand-off between Black Caviar’s owners and the Sydney-based Australian Turf Club threatened to keep the undefeated mare away from Sydney altogether.

    According to TVN’s Richard Callander, Werrett told the Moonee Valley Racing Club’s Committee Room quite clearly on a couple of occasions at a function on Friday night that Sydney is unappreciative of Black Caviar.

    What a load of tripe! As far as I can tell, as a Sydneysider, Sydney loves Black Caviar just as much as everyone else.

    It is rumoured Black Caviar’s owners weren’t happy with the ATC because their demand for 230 members’ tickets for her TJ Smith appearance wasn’t going to be met. For the record, Black Caviar is part-owned by about a dozen people.

    Facilities at Randwick, including the redeveloped Randwick grandstand, won’t be fully complete until the middle of this year and the racecourse is short on room.

    Three weeks out from the Sydney Carnival moving to Randwick for its final three race days, media accreditation hasn’t even been finalised at the eastern suburbs track.

    But Werrett, in particular, wouldn’t have been too bothered if Black Caviar missed the TJ Smith. He also owns three-year old filly Snitzerland.

    And if Snitzerland was to win her maiden Group 1 in the TJ Smith – Australia’s great weight-for-age 1200m sprint – it would increase her stud value enormously.

    And there’s no doubt Snitzerland would be a genuine winning chance in a Black Caviar-less TJ.

    So on Sunday morning, with reports in newspapers and on television that Black Caviar would bypass Sydney, Werrett’s perceived conflict of interest as the owner of both Snitzerland and Black Caviar, promised to deny Sydneysiders the chance to farewell Black Caviar.

    All was sorted on Sunday afternoon and Black Caviar will race at Randwick on April 13. Beyond that her plans are unknown but there are ambitions to travel the mare to England for another stint at Royal Ascot.

    From an owner’s perspective, the added benefit of a Royal Ascot appearance is she can be served by Frankel during the Northern Hemisphere breeding season.

    For many months, connections were adamant Black Caviar would never again race overseas after she sustained injuries when winning last year’s Diamond Jubilee Stakes.

    But a return to Royal Ascot to run in the King’s Stand Stakes (1006m, Group 1, weight-for-age) may be more likely than we think.

    The race is the second on the Royal Ascot program. It follows the Queen Anne (1609m, Group 1, weight-for-age) which opens the Royal meeting on the third Tuesday in June.

    All Too Hard, the half-brother to Black Caviar who is also owned by Werrett and (co-senior part-owner of Black Caviar) Gary Wilkie, is scheduled to make his racetrack swansong in the Queen Anne.

    For Werrett and Wilkie there must be some romance in having their two horses win the first two races of Royal Ascot.

    Not only would it be the first time Australia has won two races on the same day at Royal Ascot but, as far as I can tell, it would the first time Australia has won two Group 1s on the international stage on any day.

    And making it more incredible, the two are siblings and will probably be retired on the day. You couldn’t write a better script.

    There is an opportunity for Black Caviar and All Too Hard to meet in April 27’s All Aged Stakes (1400m, Group 1, weight-for-age) on April 27 at Randwick.

    The All Aged has been billed as a possible race of the decade after Gai Waterhouse declared More Joyous would run in the race if All Too Hard and Black Caviar did as well.

    Racing NSW has been offered $1m from corporate bookmakers to place as prizemoney for the prospective match-race. But the race will not occur.

    Speaking about the possible clash on Friday night, Wilkie said, “I don’t know why you want to do those things. It’s like comparing Frankel and Black Caviar. He does what he does and she does what she does”.

    It’s no surprise to hear Wilkie pour cold water over the idea.

    He has a vested interest in ensuring the reputations of Black Caviar and All Too Hard aren’t hurt by any defeat. Stud value hinges on reputations remaining lofty.

    But his comments seemed strange. When an owner loses sight of why people want to see two great horses race each other there is a problem.

    Thoroughbred horse racing has always been about horses, especially great horses, racing each other. And it’s been done that way for decades. Until recently, it wasn’t so much about protecting career records and stud deals.

    Phar Lap and Amounis; Tulloch and Lord; Dulcify and Manikato; and Northerly and Sunline.

    All is laid bare and the cream rises to the top. These are the match-ups racing thrives on.

    Black Caviar has shifted the ideals in racehorse ownership.

    Perhaps, she is the symbol of a new era in racing, where a great horse’s legacy is just as much secured by its stud value as it is with great victories on the track.

    If that’s the case, Black Caviar is as good as any mare that’s raced.

    But, I must say, I much prefer racing when it’s less about the commercial and more about the sport. And I’m sure all the great geldings would be glad to hear that!

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    The Crowd Says (18)

    • March 25th 2013 @ 9:03am
      Will Sinclair said | March 25th 2013 @ 9:03am | ! Report

      Surely the stud value of both All Too Hard and Black Caviar is now protected – at least from a racing point of view (any additional value will now come if / when they perform at stud).

      In addition, Black Caviar now has the all-time unbeaten record and all-time Australasian G1 record.

      So surely there is now absolutely no risk to the owners of either horse in having them race against each other?

      In fact, there is the opportunity for them to be involved in a LEGENDARY moment in Australian racing. Something we will all talk about the generations to come (as opposed to… “I saw Black Caviar stroll to victory over Fawkner one day…”).

      Come on owners – give us the dream!

      • Columnist

        March 25th 2013 @ 9:54am
        Justin Cinque said | March 25th 2013 @ 9:54am | ! Report

        I agree completely Will. But the owners don’t get it.

    • Roar Guru

      March 25th 2013 @ 9:13am
      sheek said | March 25th 2013 @ 9:13am | ! Report

      Justin & Will,

      Call me unappreciative, call me treasonous, call me plain loco, but the Black Caviar legacy just becomes a little more suspect to me each day.

      You described the William Reid Stakes win as “soft”‘ Regrettably, I think far too many of BC’s wins have been soft, all designed to promote & protect the unbeaten run. Plus, each win sends the stud fees sky-rocketing.

      I’m almost tempted to use the word “collusive”, but there, I used it. Collusive business arrangement between BC’s connections & her breeders to ensure unsuspecting horseflesh buyers with more money than sense will be guaranteed to pay over the odds for her offspring.

      But heck, that’s been happening anyway for about 300 years of thoroughbred racing & breeding…..

      • March 25th 2013 @ 9:49am
        Will Sinclair said | March 25th 2013 @ 9:49am | ! Report


        I can’t call you any of those things!

        I’ve said it before, but there is something disappointing / deflating about the way Black Caviar has added to her unbeaten record. It should be that each triumph is a new mountain climbed, a new challenge overcome… but instead the opposite is true. Each win is now easier than the one before it. And it’s hard to get too excited.

        The one defence I have is that the owners / Moody always announce their intentions publically, and don’t back down from any challenge. But the other trainers are so intent on avoiding Black Caviar that they never step up to the plate (with the notable exception of McNair and Hay List, who probably have no choice).

        And it’s possibly unfair to expect investors to act contrary to their own interests? We wouldn’t expect it in any other area of business.

        But… you’re right. It’s all a bit disappointing. But I am going to keep dreaming of everyone lining up in the All Aged. How good would it be?

      • March 25th 2013 @ 10:02am
        kelly said | March 25th 2013 @ 10:02am | ! Report

        If the Cav is overated Sheek and they are running her in soft races, explain the track record at flemington. She is the greatest horse we will all ever see, and they WILL be able to write there own cheque on the the first off spring.

        • March 25th 2013 @ 11:00am
          Will Sinclair said | March 25th 2013 @ 11:00am | ! Report

          Kelly – I don’t think Sheek said Black Caviar was overrated, OR that they only run her in soft races.

          Maybe stick to responding to what other posters actually DO say, because Sheek absolutely knows his stuff, and has made some really good points.

          • Roar Guru

            March 25th 2013 @ 11:30am
            sheek said | March 25th 2013 @ 11:30am | ! Report

            BTW Will,

            Thanks for your kind words of support. I must confess I don’t know anywhere as much as I wish I did.

            As I get older, the thirst for knowledge becomes greater, because you realise the more you learn, the less you actually know!

            Because there’s just so much knowledge out there waiting to be captured…..

        • Roar Guru

          March 25th 2013 @ 11:15am
          sheek said | March 25th 2013 @ 11:15am | ! Report


          Her times at 1200m are awesome, no argument there. Her Newmarket win was awesome too, no argument there.

          But 16 wins at 1200m, six wins at 1000m, & only one win at 1400m? Also, I think only the Newmarket was a handicap race, all the other wins have been at wfa or set weights?

          To me, that suggests soft.

          Her connections passed up the opportunity to win at second Newmarket carrying 61 kgs, I think it was. And not once has she contested 1600m.

          Imagine winning a second Newmarket with 61 kgs, or winning wfa at 1600? Doubters like me would have been blown out of the water. But now, the query remains.

          Back in 1967 when I was first following racing, Tobin Bronze won the Doncaster Mile (1600m) with 59.5 kgs, then backed up in the spring to win the Caulfield Cup (2400m) with 61.5 kgs!

          Tobin Bronze also won two WS Cox Plates (2040m) in 1966-67.

          After winning the Caulfield (2400m)-Melbourne (3200m) Cups double in 1966, Galilee came back the following autumn to carry 60.5 kgs & win the Sydney Cup (3200m) by six lengths.

          Everyone raves about Makybe Diva winning three consecutive Melbourne Cups. But she was ‘gifted’ her third win with 58 kgs.

          The mighty mare Wakeful carried a staggering 63.5 kgs into second place in the 1903 Melbourne Cup. There are other numerous examples of distance versatility & huge weight carrying.

          I’m sorry, but as good as BC is, & she’s very, very good up to a point, her racing record is soft when compared to that of other champions from the past.

          Consequently, there will always be a question mark as to her true worth. I’ve said this before on another of Justin’s posts, BC could possibly be even better than many of us/you believe she is. But her connections have been a bit too cute with her racing program.

          • March 25th 2013 @ 12:14pm
            Will Sinclair said | March 25th 2013 @ 12:14pm | ! Report

            “Consequently, there will always be a question mark as to her true worth. I’ve said this before on another of Justin’s posts, BC could possibly be even better than many of us/you believe she is. But her connections have been a bit too cute with her racing program.”

            That’s a beautiful summary of the Black Caviar conundrum.

    • March 25th 2013 @ 10:49am
      Bondy said | March 25th 2013 @ 10:49am | ! Report

      Fingers in every pie for the owner, Sydney people love BC , So if she races in the TJ does Snitzerland probably not ? Can Snizerland beat BC cant see why she couldnt get awfully close.

      I wonder what the english think when our best charges over there to race over 5 furlongs. I think she should reamin in Australia and work her way up the coast and probably the Doomben 10,000 to top her off.

    • March 25th 2013 @ 11:17am
      Bondy said | March 25th 2013 @ 11:17am | ! Report

      I enjoyed the theatre that was friday night it was great to see people at the track,mind you i’m not a fan of a night Cox Plte (more night sports). Its unique in thoroughbred racing to guarantee victories prior to even going onto the track or getting to the barriers in a marketing sense but she can,she can and has delivered for race clubs throughout the country for the past 3-4 seasons,thats something hardened race enthusisats are not use too.

      I’ve only been involved in horses for twenty years I’ll never see anything like this again its truly uniuqe.

    • Roar Guru

      March 25th 2013 @ 11:44am
      KiwiDave said | March 25th 2013 @ 11:44am | ! Report

      A Kings Stand run and a breeding with Frankel…….How much would a colt out of those two be worth?

    • Columnist

      March 25th 2013 @ 3:11pm
      Cameron Rose said | March 25th 2013 @ 3:11pm | ! Report

      Every racing organization in this country should band together with a major sponsor and corporate bookmaker to provide the richest purse Australian racing has ever seen for the All-Aged Stakes, and the connections of this country’s best horses need to put the sport ahead of everything else, if only for this one race.

      Black Caviar, All Too Hard, Pierro, More Joyous, Hay List, Snitzerland, Moment of Change, Rebel Dane to name eight that come to mind. All are fit, all are currently racing in a prep that wouldn’t be compromised by including the All-Aged in their schedule. Older horses plus three year-olds, colts, fillies, mares.

      Any other horses that should be there?

      • Editor

        March 25th 2013 @ 3:21pm
        Tristan Rayner said | March 25th 2013 @ 3:21pm | ! Report

        Atlantic Jewel? *dreams*

      • Columnist

        March 25th 2013 @ 3:29pm
        Justin Cinque said | March 25th 2013 @ 3:29pm | ! Report

        Proisir, Sincero possibly, Solzhenitsyn, throw in Shamexpress put up 5m and watch them all – bar BC, she’s too noble for that – come for a great race.

        • Columnist

          March 25th 2013 @ 10:07pm
          Cameron Rose said | March 25th 2013 @ 10:07pm | ! Report

          Great first two there Justin, they were the others I had thought of but forgot in the comment. Sincero’s Memsie Stakes win last year was sizzling, and would make him worthy of being in the race.

          Love Tristo’s AJ comment, she really is the forgotten horse isn’t she. I wonder if we’ll see her again?

      • March 25th 2013 @ 3:42pm
        Bondy said | March 25th 2013 @ 3:42pm | ! Report

        Ironically both W.F.A. races prior to and after the Doncaster ,The Ryder and All Aged are under a mile in journey,The All Aged being reduced back form a mile only a few years ago to 1400 mtrs.

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