Decision on Black Caviar's future to wait on her return
|Decision on Black Caviar's future to wait on her return - 25th Jun 2012|
|Trainer Peter Moody's first reaction to Black Caviar's victory at Royal Ascot was to flag retirement for the undefeated superstar, but the spring carnival in Melbourne and farewell at home is far more likely.|
The Diamond Jubilee Stakes wasn't the glittering coronation expected. It was rather a champion, who had one fight too many, refusing to lose even when out on her feet.
In the final couple of strides up the hill to the winning post, Black Caviar answered questions she had never been asked in Australia.
Can she fight? The answer was a resounding yes. Last night there were reports that the champion mare had suffered two muscle tears and serious bruising during the race.
The margin was a head from Moonlight Cloud and Restiadargent, but that head meant more than all the victory romps at home.
Black Caviar showing her champion qualities far outweighed any "brain fade" by jockey Luke Nolen. It means there is nothing left to prove for the winner of all 22 of her starts and Moody knows it.
"This was always going to be the greatest risk of her career and for the last five or six times we have taken her to the races we've been prepared to accept it might be the last [run]," Moody said. "Hopefully that's not the case, but if she is as tired and worn out when she gets home she may have graced the track for the final time. I won't hesitate in any shape or form; let's not put the cart before the horse."
Black Caviar headed straight for quarantine yesterday. There will be no run in the July Cup at Newmarket, a far more testing course, after performing so far below her best but still winning.
Black Caviar will be back with old friends Billy the goat and 29-year-old shetland pony Andy, at Peter Clarke's pre-training complex in Murchison next month after the long trip back to Australia.
Moody will assess her then to decide on a Melbourne spring appearance. Black Caviar would start in the Manikato Stakes on October 26 before a shot at a third Patinack Classic two weeks later on the final day of the Flemington carnival.
That race, where she recorded her first group 1 victory at her eighth start, could be a fitting end for the mighty mare, although the lure of a $1 million bonus from the Global Sprint Challenge in December's Hong Kong International Sprint would be tempting.
Black Caviar picked up $600,000 from the Victoria Racing Club for the Patinack-Golden Jubilee double and there is another $600,000 on offer if she returns to Melbourne and wins at Flemington again.
"We're nearer the end rather than the start and she's not getting any better — she's a six-year-old by your time, five by ours but I'm so proud of her," Moody said. "She's one hell of a horse who has carried us throughout her career.
"I'm slightly disappointed for your public that haven't seen how great this filly is and that will give the doubting Thomases some material, but you don't win 22 from 22 being moderate."
Owner Neil Werrett would love to see her return to Sydney for an autumn campaign but the final decision will be made in the interests of Black Caviar. The unbeaten record is intact and while it is there it is always a major consideration.
The Sydney-based owner said he thought it was gone on Saturday.
"I was dumbfounded when they went past the post because from where I was I thought she got beaten," Werrett said. "It was a long way to come to have that happen but she won and I'm just relieved.
"We have had such a great experience over here with her and right through her career. It will be up to Peter whether that is it or we get to see her again.
"I hope we do but you wouldn't want to go through something like that again."
Courtesy of Fairfax Digital, www.smh.com.au & Chris Roots, Ascot.