Black Caviar: the greatest of them all

zacbrygel Roar Guru

By zacbrygel, zacbrygel is a Roar Guru

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    The winner of the Goodwood will join a list that includes the legendary Black Caviar. (Image: AAP)

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    The curtain has finally fallen on the career of arguably Australia’s, if not the world’s, greatest ever racehorse – Black Caviar.

    Trainer Peter Moody, along with the mare’s owners, today announced her retirement, “calling it a day on what’s been a wonderful career.”

    And yes Pete, what a wonderful career it has been.

    Black Caviar has wielded a truly remarkable 25 wins from 25 starts, a feat only beaten by one racehorse in the history of the sport; the great Kincsem of Hungary, who went a mind boggling 54 races undefeated in the late 1800s.

    However, Black Caviar’s brilliance is not merely attributed to her remarkable record, but rather the way in which she has achieved her simply flawless victories.

    The superstar won her 25 victories by a total of 79.6 lengths, accounting for an average of over a three length winning margin per race – illustrating the dominance she showed in nearly every race she contested.

    In reality though, the Australian bred legend is even greater than the above statistic suggests, as in almost every race she contested, jockey Luke Nolen didn’t even use the whip to further push his horse to victory – simply because it wasn’t needed.

    Instead, when the time was right, Nolen let Black Caviar roll naturally into her stride without prompt, letting the mare stroll into a pace never seen before, and in doing so blowing away the field in a blink of an eye.

    Every time this utter brilliance was witnessed it took your breath your away, and you couldn’t help but marvel at this once in a lifetime horse.

    Some say the only fault in her career of her career was the victory at Royal Ascot last May, where she narrowly escaped with the win in a close photo finish – tarnishing her reputation as the greatest sprinter of all time.

    Ironically, I believe this was her greatest victory, where the mare suffered muscle tears and damage to her hind quarters mid race – only to plough on and win in what was a display of true guts and determination which qualities that champions such as Black Caviar always possess.

    Although Black Caviar’s career has finally cantered off into the sunset, her legend will undoubtedly live on for many generations to come, with those that had the opportunity of seeing her boasting for probably the rest of their lives.

    “Nelly”, as she is known, will be compared with the great Australian horses of the past such as Carbine, Phar Lap and Makybe Diva, with debate no doubt raging for future generations over who was our nation’s best.

    While that debate may be difficult to settle, there is no doubt that Black Caviar has transformed the industry and provided us with lifetime memories.

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    The Crowd Says (17)

    • Roar Guru

      April 18th 2013 @ 3:31am
      peeeko said | April 18th 2013 @ 3:31am | ! Report

      Sad to see such a great horse retire but i think you are exxagerating when calling her the greatest of all time. the fact that she was unbeaten is brilliant but cant be used as a measuring stick due to the facts outlined in Justin Cinques great article earlier this week. It will be interesting to see how her legacy lasts and how many non racing people will continue to be interested in the sport

      • Roar Guru

        April 18th 2013 @ 11:59am
        zacbrygel said | April 18th 2013 @ 11:59am | ! Report

        Hi Peeko, ye it certainly will be interesting to see how her legacy lasts. Hopefully it increases interest in the sport around the country. I would just like to stress though that in the article I didn’t actually say she was the greatest of all time, merely that she was arguably the world’s greatest ever racehorse. Here I am saying that there is opportunity for a person to argue the case for that, however I am not stating that it is necessarily true.

        • Roar Guru

          April 18th 2013 @ 12:01pm
          zacbrygel said | April 18th 2013 @ 12:01pm | ! Report

          In terms of the title, it was more to spark debate and interest in the article for Roarers, however it probably wasn’t the appropriate title and for that I apologise. Thanks for reading it though, and your comments are always appreciated.

          • Roar Guru

            April 19th 2013 @ 2:57am
            peeeko said | April 19th 2013 @ 2:57am | ! Report

            def agree that the length of her wins is the most astounding stat, imagine what it could have been if Nolen wanted to ride her to the line!

            • Roar Guru

              April 19th 2013 @ 5:48pm
              zacbrygel said | April 19th 2013 @ 5:48pm | ! Report

              Ye it would have ridiculous! Probably over 100 for total winning lengths.

    • Roar Guru

      April 18th 2013 @ 7:07am
      sheek said | April 18th 2013 @ 7:07am | ! Report

      The Hungarian horse Kingsem (b. 1874) was unbeaten in 54 starts.

      Do you reckon the Hungarians might still think he’s the greatest thoroughbred to ever race?

      Obviously, the hyperboles are going to go crazy regarding Black Caviar in the coming weeks & months. It will take time for some people to settle down & judge her career without bias & emotion.

      She’s the greatest sprinter seen in Australia. That’s her claim to fame right now. Nothing more, nothing less.

      • April 18th 2013 @ 7:20am
        Lancey5times said | April 18th 2013 @ 7:20am | ! Report

        Yes, yes, yes. And it is very important that we mention the ‘sprinter’ bit whenever we assess her. Personally, I think it’s a bit rich to label a horse that never won over 1400m as the greatest of all time.

      • Columnist

        April 18th 2013 @ 7:21am
        Justin Cinque said | April 18th 2013 @ 7:21am | ! Report

        “The Hungarian horse Kingsem (b. 1874) was unbeaten in 54 starts.

        Do you reckon the Hungarians might still think he’s the greatest thoroughbred to ever race?”

        Of course they do Sheek. Every time they go to the races they are reminded of it. Hungary’s main racecourse is named after her – Kincsem Park!

        • Columnist

          April 18th 2013 @ 7:25am
          Justin Cinque said | April 18th 2013 @ 7:25am | ! Report

          Incredible horse Kincsem – won all across the European continent including in England, Austria, Germany, France and obviously Hungary. Goodness knows how you would’ve gone about travelling a horse in the 1880s especially to the British Isles. What an animal!

          • Roar Guru

            April 18th 2013 @ 8:29am
            sheek said | April 18th 2013 @ 8:29am | ! Report

            Thanks for the correction Justin – Kincsem not Kingsem.

          • April 18th 2013 @ 10:35am
            Scuba said | April 18th 2013 @ 10:35am | ! Report

            Kincsem was a pretty handy broodmare after she retired too – hopefully Black Caviar can follow in her footsteps in that regard as well.

            There’s actually a lot of similarities between the stories of the two mares in terms of their impact and following throughout their respective nations – for instance, flags throughout Hungary were flown at half mast when Kincsem died – not too many racehorses get that type of reaction!

            • Roar Guru

              April 18th 2013 @ 12:06pm
              zacbrygel said | April 18th 2013 @ 12:06pm | ! Report

              Black Caviar’s offspring will certainly go for an unbelievably high price, if she mates with Frankel, as has been rumoured, we could see the most expensive purchase for a horse in history.

              • Columnist

                April 18th 2013 @ 12:14pm
                Justin Cinque said | April 18th 2013 @ 12:14pm | ! Report

                That is true althought at this stage there is no intent to sell any of them. The owners want to race the offspring which means they will be taking on all the expenses including service fees, rearing and breaking in. They must be very rich.

    • April 18th 2013 @ 3:44pm
      Bondy said | April 18th 2013 @ 3:44pm | ! Report

      What is her worth as a broodmare ? I’d say 7 million, the colts will sell for 3-4 mill.

      Sheek I agree with your first post, when the emotion settles down ,good point.

    • April 19th 2013 @ 10:36am
      oikee said | April 19th 2013 @ 10:36am | ! Report

      Manikato and Kingston Town were way better than Black Caviar. They got tested more and lasted way longer.
      Manikato would have had her for breakfast.
      Kingston Town had a turn of foot no horse has ever matched in this country, expect maybe Tullock.

      I think it was Manikato who won the same group race 6 or 7 consecitive years in a row. “The Man” as they called him always turned up, swollen feet and all.

      Kingston Town won 3 consecitive Cox Plates and came second in a Melbourne cup.

    • April 19th 2013 @ 9:13pm
      gomaxwell said | April 19th 2013 @ 9:13pm | ! Report

      Seems a lot of reasons not to believe in her ultimate greatness -from not having won over 1400 to not towelling horses every race by huge margins; other horses win over longer distances so they are greater -what a strange conclusion? So Usain Bolt is not the greatest athlete because he does not run over 400 metres?

      Black caviar made the BEST sprinters in the world (Australia is considered the best country in the world for sprinting races) look slow; – the less distance you run the harder this is to achieve. All races have different speeds and energy levels required by all horses, but she always (except when running injured) sat on the leaders as if cantering and her lengthening stride to her gallop was like no other sight in racing as she simply and seemingly effortlessly increased the tempo where no other could follow. No other horse in my knowledge has been able to do all this- greatness has nothing to do with distance traveled but with the sheer Majesty of the journey. I do not expect to see her like again just as I have never seen it before, and I saw most of the Australian horses mentioned here.

      • Roar Guru

        April 19th 2013 @ 10:39pm
        zacbrygel said | April 19th 2013 @ 10:39pm | ! Report

        Completely agree mate, it is definitely harder to smash other runners in shorter races – which makes them look slow. Some other great points as well.

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