Rail Runner

The Observations of a Horse Racing Enthusiast

Black Caviar: Serving only the Finest

Posted by Brian Appleton on June 7, 2011

Australia has produced some of the finest champions in horse racing history, from Carbine to Pharlap and Kingston Town, the greats have spanned the centuries, conquering challenges and climbing heights of highest honor Yet sometimes racing from the great “down under” seems to be largely overlooked by the rest of the world and especially the United States where traditional dirt racing is the mainstay. Sure, we hear about the Group 1 Melbourne Cup because it takes second place only to the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe as the world’s most prestigious grass race, but aside from that there really is no easy-to-come-by source of information about their current runners like there are for European and American horses. This first came to my attention late last year when the name Black Caviar kept popping up in racing discussions. Australia’s undefeated phenom of a race mare was proving untouchable against the best of both sexes in Australia and I was having trouble finding so much as a full blown article covering one of her victories. The subject came to my attention once again after HRN released their All-Time Greatest Filly and Mare rankings this past weekend and I spotted a comment from a user stating the exact same sentiments I was harboring; “how can you rate a mare you barely know when there isn’t any information on her?”

So I decided I’d had enough of the table scraps and wanted the full dish about this incredibly talented mare; appetizer, entrée, desert and all. I hope you will enjoy reading this as much I enjoyed researching it, Black Caviar is easily one of the most gifted horses in modern history. After compiling all the facts and stats there is little doubt in my mind that Black Caviar has already earned herself a spot among racing’s all time greats.

Black Caviar was foaled on August 18, 2006 at Swettenham Stud in Australia. She is the first foal out of the unraced mare Helsinge(AUS) and is the daughter of Bel Espirit, son of 1990 Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr.1) winner Royal Academy(USA). She captured her first Trial at 800 Meters on March 30th, 2009, winning by five lengths with jockey Luke Nolen up. Next she took her race debut by another five lengths in the 1000 Meter Cromwell Handicap and coasted home by six for her first stakes win in the 1200 Meter Blue Sapphire Stakes.

Freshened for sixteen weeks, Black Caviar was returned to the races on August 22nd as a three-year-old and easily won by four lengths to bring her record to three wins in three starts. Next up trainer Peter Moody decided his charge was ready for a bigger challenge and entered her in the Group 2 Danehill Stakes on September 5th where she once again proved her prowess. After stumbling at the start and sustaining an injury to her chest, the sophomore filly quickly recovered her footing and blazed her way across the finish line, winning for fun. Given a good twenty weeks to recover from her injury, Black Caviar returned to the races on January 22nd 2010 and claimed victory in the Australia Stakes (G2) against older horses, winning by more than two lengths for her fifth win. Now she was beginning to turn heads on a national stage. But once again the talented filly’s plans were put on a temporary hold when a leg injury was discovered and she was scratched from the February 13th William Reid Stakes (G1). [Read the complete article on Distaff Runner at Horse Racing Nation]

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5 Responses to “Black Caviar: Serving only the Finest”

  1. Danny Power said

    Great to read that you rate Black Caviar so highly. She certainly is very special. However, you state that she is by Royal Academy from Helsinge. She is by Royal Academy’s son Bel Esprit from Helsinge (by Desert Sun (GB)).

    • Hi Danny,

      Yes, she is so special and talented beyond belief!
      Thank you! I’m not sure how I missed that, I think I was to concentrate on the ‘American’ side of her pedigree. Error now fixed! 🙂

  2. Steven Harris said

    I would say that the Epsom Derby “The Derby” is slightly more prestigious than a 2mile Melbourne Handicap!!!

    Over 230 years of producing champion racehorses & sires,the origin of every Derby including the your little 10f race on dirt, is testimony to its greatness.

    • Danny Power said

      I’d agree that the Epsom Derby ranks with the Arc as the world’s most prestige turf race, but don’t put down the Melbourne Cup because it is a handicap.
      Obviously, in the northern hemisphere handicaps are not regarded for the elite horse, but in Australian the handicap is the supreme test – pitting the best horses against all comers under conditions set out to make them equal. Group 1 handicaps, such the Melb Cup, Caulfield Cup, Newmarket Handicap, Doncaster Handicap and Stradbroke Handicap, are the traditional races Australians love to win because they are for all-comers. Black Caviar’s great win in the Newmarket Handicap is an example of this.
      These races provided wonderful test of a horse’s talent and ability to overcome the adversity of a system designed to make winning difficult. We also have our weight-for-age races – and the Cox Plate is regarded as Australia’s championship event. We think we have the mix just perfect Australia and wouldn’t change it for anything. We are not saying it is better, but we take offense to your derogatory use of the world “handicap”.
      I don’t know if you have been to Australia to enjoy our racing – if not, I suggest you do. It’s one of the few places in the world where flat racing is thriving.

      • Hi Steve – No argument that the Epsom Derby is very prestigious but I think the Melbourne Cup ranks right up there with it, we are after all talking about a race so treasured that it practically brings the nation to a standstill on race day. It’s an amazing test of stamina, talent and strength with the distance and handicapping rules in place. You can’t downplay 150 years of racing anymore than you can downplay 230. Don’t forget that “little 10F race on dirt” has top billing as the best race in the world and “greatest two minutes in sports”.

        Danny – I sincerely wish handicaps held more sway here in the United States, that’s one of the reasons I really love the Melbourne Cup. Australia and England are on the top of my list to visit for racing.

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