Yes, Black Caviar is back on the Australian racing menu this weekend, when she will be contesting the Group One Goodwood over 1200 metres at Morphettville, and gunning for her 21st win, and 11th Group One. It will be her final appearance on an Australian racetrack prior to travelling overseas to compete at Royal Ascot. However, she may very well be back on her home tracks in spring, having been pencilled in for the Manikato Stakes and Patinack Farm Classic.
She doesn’t face much competition from the other eight runners in the Goodwood, none of them having won at Group One level. The best of them appear to be Outlandish Lad, We’re Gonna Rock, Catapulted and Go The Knuckle.
It is remarkable how Black Caviar has captured the heart of the nation. Every time she races, the nation stops to watch. One AFL football game on the weekend will start half an hour early, so as to be over by the time Black Caviar races. This is to enable the teams and spectators time to get to the track to watch living history.
The other major race on Saturday is the BTC Cup, a Group One sprint over 1200 metres at Doomben racecourse in Queensland.
Black Caviar won the race last year, but a quality field has accepted to the tune of fifteen runners. Buffering is the current favourite, but having drawn an outside barrier, will possibly be vulnerable. Galaxy winner Temple of Boom is a major threat, along with the similarly named Spirit of Boom, Neeson and super smart mare Beaded. Fillies Elite Falls, Satin Shoes and Sea Siren may challenge as well.
Females have dominated racing this year – Black Caviar (naturally), More Joyous, Mosheen, Atlantic Jewel and Shez Sinsational who won the Group Two Hollindale Stakes last Saturday, narrowly from fellow mare Lights Of Heaven. Thus it wouldn’t be all that surprising if one of the female contestants in BTC Cup took home the prize.
Vale Vo Rogue & Northerly
Two former champions of the Aussie turf passed away this week. The great bare hoof frontrunner, Vo Rogue, died on Monday at the age of 28 and Sunline conqueror, and dual Cox Plate winner, Northerly was euthanased on Wednesday after suffering a severe bout of colic. He was 15 and enjoyed some of his retirement years at Living Legends, before returning to his owner’s Western Australian property. All very sad for those of us who remember their exploits, but they’ll both live on in our memories.
I saw Northerly race once in the flesh in the 2001 Feehan Stakes, where he raced against and defeated Sunline for the first time. I admit my heart was with Sunline that day, but it was a great race nonetheless. I still have the race book from the day with a photo of Sunline on the cover.
It was astounding to watch Black Caviar cruise to her 21st victory this afternoon. She barely got into second gear the whole trip, and Luke Nolen hardly shifted in the saddle, as she cantered to the line, a length and a half clear from We’re Gonna Rock with Sterling Grove trailing three lengths behind in third spot. It struck me as one of her most arrogant wins – why bust your guts if you can win at a canter.
And I was right about the female dominance of the sport. Three year old filly Sea Siren took out the BTC Cup, with old trooper Scenic Blast running a game second and Beaded taking third spot.