Black Caviar on course to claim glory at Royal Ascot, insists race manager O'Conner
14:34 GMT, 14 June 2012
Unbeaten Australian sprinter Black Caviar has racked up far more impressive times during training than she has ever had to done compiling her formidable unbeaten 21 race sequence.
The ominous warning was sounded by Jeff O’Connor, racing manager to trainer Peter Moody, as the Australian wondermare closes in on her challenge for Royal Ascot’s Diamond Jubilee Stakes a week on Saturday.
Black Caviar, who did light exercise at her Newmarket base on Thursday, is 1-3 favourite for the Diamond Jubilee Stakes. Her rivals could include Roger Charlton’s Bated Breath, Freddie Head’s Moonlight Cloud and last year’s Diamond Jubilee winner, the James Fanshawe-trained Society Rock.
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But O'Connor is adamant the mare, judged second only to Frankel in world ratings, is head and shoulders above her rivals in terms of ability.
He said: 'It's hard to say she can improve on her racetrack performances – she can only go so fast – but her track work performances are like nothing you have ever seen.
‘She runs times that have you scratching your head. A couple of times early on we thought our watches were playing up so we used different ones.’
O’Connor does not feel there is a rival lurking who can push the six-year-old to new heights but said putting her unbeaten record on the line half way around the world from her home is a risk.
He added: ‘We’d have to find a horse to put it to her. Are we going to see one at Ascot – possibly not and I don’t think we will able to find one in the time frame that we still have to race her in.
Aussie rules: Black Caviar
‘There is nothing she can achieve (at Royal Ascot) on top of her record – she can only come out of this negatively. It is a gamble with an unbeaten horse. If she is beaten, I don’t think (jockey) Luke Nolen will come back to the unsaddling enclosure, I think he will keep going and find a little barn near Windsor to hide.’
Previously, Moody has brought two other sprinters to the royal meeting.
Magnus was third to another Aussie, Miss Andretti, in the 2007 King’s Stand Stakes while Hinchinbrook had to be scratched when injured before the meeting a year ago.
O’Connor said: ‘Last year, we could not have been more confident with Hitchinbrook and unfortunately he was injured. We know Black Caviar is a better sprinter than him.’
O’Connor said fears that Black Caviar could be unsuited by unseasonally soft ground at the royal meeting after heavy rainfall this month were unfounded, pointing to the mare’s good work outs on heavy going in ‘Barrier Trial’ races used in the training regime Down Under.
Australian sprinters have quickly earned the respect of the British racing fans since Choisir blazed a trail winning the 2003 King’s Stand Stakes in 2003.
Miss Andretti, Scenic Blast and Takeover Target have followed him in the five-furlong dash to give the Aussie’s four wins from 14 runners in the race.
A modicum of hope is offered to the home-trained runners in less successful Down Under raids on the six-furlong Diamond Jubilee Stakes which they have won only once, also with Choisir in 2003, from 10 runners.