The South African racing public has warmed to the achievements of Australian equine heroine Black Caviar. And ironically it was a South African jockey that came perilously close to bursting the fairytale bubble.
The freakishly brilliant mare streaked to her nineteenth career win on the trot in the $750 000 Gr 1 Lightning Stakes run over 1000m at Flemington on Saturday 18 February.
Reports are that former Durban based jockey Glyn Schofield actually believed he had achieved the impossible in the final stages of the top sprint contest riding the tough as teak Hay List. It was to end in the same old story – Hay List’s fourth Gr 1 runner-up berth to Black Caviar. Shades of our own Horse Chestnut and the broken –spirited Pablo Zeta!
Black Caviar with career earnings in excess of $5 million has likely run her last in Australia and could be headed for Dubai and ultimately a date with Royalty at Ascot later this year.
And what a thriller of a race it was! Jockey Luke Nolen confided to Schofield as the horses were pulling up that Hay List had “given me the biggest scare of my life”. Schofield told his rival he thought he had Black Caviar beaten. “She was gone, she was gone,” he said. “Her race fitness beat us today; it was the only thing that beat us.
“Luke went for his first and then I went for mine. We went head-for-head for about 200m and neither of us was giving an inch. “She was under pressure and I wasn’t going away.”
Schofield said it wasn’t until inside the final 200m that Black Caviar gained the ascendancy and when the mare put a length on him inside the last 100m that he eased up on Hay List.
Trainer Peter Moody joked with Schofield that he must have become excited to see Black Caviar seemingly under pressure. “You got excited, didn’t you? You thought, ‘I might have her’. Nolen is giving her a shake and I haven’t moved,” Moody said with a laugh.
He went on to say that the winning time of 55.53sec, 0.03secs outside the track record set by Special in winning the 1988 Lightning Stakes, indicated the champion qualities of the two horses.
“She came home her last 600m in 31.82secs. You can’t go any quicker than that unless you are dropped down a cliff,” Schofield said. Interestingly Black Caviar ran the 600m to 400m in 9.98 seconds. That is bloody fast!
Pippa Miclkleburgh and Dennis Drier will be pondering the dreams of a world championship clash with our own speed queen, Val De Ra. That will be the race of the century. It may also give Drier’s former stable jockey Glyn Schofield an opportunity to assist in strategising the downfall of the great mare. Something he could not do on Hay List.
Let’s just wait and see!
Black Caviar’s victory equals the long-standing Australian record of 19 consecutive wins held by Desert Gold and Gloaming. That is history and statistics going back to the first world war!