Farmer Bill has been a member of the Victoria Racing Club (VRC) at Flemington since 1972 and still loves a day the races. Knowing how much both my parents enjoy watching a good horse race, chauffeuring them down to Melbourne for a day of metropolitan racing was on my list of goals for 2013. When Black Caviar’s trainer, Peter Moody announced she would be racing in Melbourne on the 16th February I started planning a day trip to Victoria’s capital.
Black Caviar is a brown six-year-old thoroughbred mare; winning every race she has ever entered and has become an Australian equine heroine, following in the hoofsteps of legendary horses like Carbine, Phar Lap, Kingston Town and Makybe Diva.
She was famously flown to England last year to race in front of Queen Elizabeth II at Royal Ascot in June. I’d been lucky enough to be there that day as Black Caviar battled it out to win (in a heart-stopping moment) by the smallest of margins in the 1200m Diamond Jubilee Stakes. She appeared tired and worn out afterwards and like many other people, I thought her racing days were over and I had witnessed her final race.
Last Saturday she made her spectacular return to the racing world and Farmer Bill, Granny and I along with over 27,000 other race goers, made our way to Melbourne’s Flemington Race Course to watch a moment of history unfold. She was entered to run in The Black Caviar Lightning Stakes, a straight race of one thousand metres, renamed in 2012 in her honour.
Her transformation on Saturday was nothing short of miraculous as she entered the Mounting Yard looking relaxed and supremely fit. Her well-muscled frame is 16.2 hands high or 164.6cm to the top of her shoulder and she looked every bit the champion.
Watching thoroughbred horses on the final leg of a racetrack is a sight to behold, each one straining to outrun the other and every muscle fully stretched. Black Caviar made it look easy as she glided down the straight. Her enormous strides seemed effortless and she passed the winning post two and a half lengths clear of her closest rival in a time of 55.42 seconds, breaking a course record that had stood since the mare, Special had won the Lightning Stakes in 1988.
Black Caviar has become the first horse in history to win the race three years in a row since its inception in 1955 and it took her phenomenal racing career to twenty-three wins from twenty-three starts. Rising seven years in August, my only wish is that when she does retire, she retires uninjured and undefeated.