Caviar confirmed, unless it’s wet

Racing fans will be relying on Black Caviar’s remarkable ability to avoid wet tracks should they wish to see her at Randwick in the T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) on April 13.

Trainer Peter Moody reaffirmed this morning that Sydney’s $1 million Group 1 was her target, as long as the track wasn’t significantly rain-affected.

“No matter what happens, she won’t run on a wet track,” Moody said.

The good news for the Australian Turf Club is that the champion mare has never raced on worse than dead ground with the closest she has come at Royal Ascot, when the track was rated “Good”, albeit considered to be much worse by Australian standards.

In 24 starts Black Caviar has raced on a good track 14 times with the other 10 starts all on dead ground.

Moody said the 14-time Group 1 winner had pulled up perfectly from her win on Friday and would now head for a bit of a change of scenery before beginning her preparation for Sydney.

“Everything’s good, the chiropractor and the vet are ticked off,” he said.

“She’ll go up to Peter Clarke’s at Murchison for a few days on the water walker to just get her out of the stable and then she’ll come back and have a couple of reverse gallops and probably go up to Sydney three or four days before the T.J. Smith.”

In related news, the leading trainer said both Manighar and Moment Of Change had pulled up well following their respective disappointing Group 1 performances in Sydney on Saturday.

Moody said Moment Of Change would have a brief freshen up before targeting the Group 1 The Goodwood at Morphettville on May 11 with Manighar likely to have his next start in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth (2000m) at Randwick on April 27.

“Manighar’s next run will be the Queen Elizabeth or there’s the option that I dodge Sydney altogether and have his next run at the Gold Coast in the Hollindale Cup (Group 2, 1800m),” he said.

“He just lacks fitness. His work’s been solid but he just didn’t have the residual fitness out of the Spring that he did last year.

“Moment Of Change just raced very flat. We brought him home and he passed all the vet checks, he’ll have 10 days in the paddock and 10 days on the water walker and then come back about four-and-a-half weeks before the Goodwood.”

Another Moody-trained galloper headed north in the coming weeks is Caulfield Cup placegetter Lights Of Heaven, who will have her next start in the Group 3 Neville Sellwood Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill on April 6.

She is then likely to then repeat her Queensland Winter campaign of 2012 (Hollindale Cup – Group 2, 1800m, Doomben Cup – Group 1, 2000m, Brisbane Cup – Group 2, 2400m), Moody said her performance would dictate whether she raced on again in the Spring or headed to the breeding barn.

Story by Ben Asgari

Courtesy www.racingvictoria.net.au

CHAMPION JOCKEY RATES PIERRO THE BEST

Champion jockey Jim Cassidy labelled Pierro the best horse he’d ridden after the two combined for a stunning win in Saturday’s Group One Canterbury Stakes (1300m) at Rosehill.

In extending his unbeaten run in Sydney to nine, Pierro held out champion mare and highly regarded stablemate More Joyous in a thrilling edition of the race – the first time at Group One level.

Cassidy, riding the Gai Waterhouse trained colt for the first time, said Pierro was a better horse than Might and Power and called on all-comers to take on the three-year-olds.

“I’ve been lucky enough through a great career to ride some great fillies, some great two-year-olds, some great three-year-olds, some great stayers, weight-for-age horses, but I must say putting your leg over this bloke, he’s phenomenal, he’s a freak.”

“Look, I put this bloke above Might and Power. He’s a very special horse,” Cassidy added.

“To do what he did as a two-year-old, to do what he’s done as a three-year-old – he’s come back, won the Hobartville first up, come back to 1300 and win the way he won today, I don’t like using the word freely, but he’s every bit a champion.”

“Only champions can do what he’s done. Come back, take on the older horses and the sky’s the limit for him. Bring on All Too Hard, whatever you like, he’ll deal with them, don’t worry about that!”

Pierro, sold twice by Magic Millions, has raced on 12 occasions for 10 wins and two placings. His earnings have grown to over $3.89 million. His value as one of the world’s hottest sire prospects is anyone’s guess.

Waterhouse said the son of Lonhro was on track for the Group One Doncaster Handicap. A win there would see his earnings fly past $5 million.

Bred by the Australian arm of Sheikh Mohammed’s powerful Darley operation, Pierro was originally sold through that draft the 2010 Magic Millions National Weanling Sale for $115,000.

He was purchased on that occasion by Victorian based breeder David Kobritz and then grown out at his Musk Creek Farm property before selling for $230,000 to Waterhouse at the 2011 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale.

Raced by Sydney based couple Greg and Donna Kolivos, Pierro is the pin up performer to date for leading Darley based sire Lonhro.

He is from the French and Sydney winning Daylami mare Miss Right Note – a half sister to European based multiple Group One winner Laverock.

Laverock is a close relation to Pierro being a son of Octagonal – the grand sire of the current day Australian champion.

Pierro was one of seven individual stakes winners on the day sold by Magic Millions.

The others were See the World (Maurice McCarten Stakes), Moreish (Natasha Stakes), Camporella (Gimcrack Stakes), Ready to Rip (Thoroughbred Club Cup), Saturday Skies (JC Roberts Stakes) and Beach Express (Success Express-Sengiggi Beach).

Caviar cruises to 24

The legend grew tonight when Black Caviar produced a trademark display to win the $400,000 Group 1 Hacer Group William Reid Stakes at Moonee Valley.

In front of a Cox Plate-sized crowd that assembled to see what had been billed as possibly her final start in Victoria, the Peter Moody-trained champion icon stretched her unbeaten run to 24 with a four-length romp in the 1200-metre event.

The six-year-old strolled home clear of Karuta Queen and Fawkner to prompt Moody to reiterate his belief that she is going as well as ever.

“I’ve thought that for a while and I’m glad she’s proven me right twice in a row,” Moody said of Black Caviar, who has now two from two this time in following victory in the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning on 16 February.

“She’s going super. It’s scary how well she’s going.

“It’s great and to see the people out here and see her put on a wonderful show. That’s what it’s about now, it’s not about the wins, it’s about the great publicity she gives the sport in general.

“For our industry, she’s second to none.”

Black Caviar equalled Kingston Town’s Australasian record of 14 Group 1 wins with her second William Reid Stakes success – her 19th win in Victoria – which lifted her career earnings to $7,344,936.

Few of those dollars have been earned as easily as tonight’s $240,000. After beginning moderately, she was quickly able to take up a familiar spot outside the leader, which was Karuta Queen, who led at a pedestrian tempo.

Black Caviar’s loyal partner Luke Nolen increased the speed from the 500m, which was when the big crowd knew it was going to get what it came for.

The $1.03 favourite cleared out before straightening and was eased down late to score from Karuta Queen ($51), who joined Hay List and Crystal Lily as the horses to have finished second to the great mare more than once.

Black Caviar’s winning time was 1:11.08 was almost two seconds outside the track record, but included a sizzling final 400m split of 22.03secs.

Fawkner ($26), who was not suited by the slow early tempo, flashed home to finish third, marginally in advance of Luckygray ($31) and Linton ($101).

Nolen, who celebrated his 21st win aboard Black Caviar, agreed with Moody that she feels in career-best shape.

“She felt good, travelled well in the run and when we were getting by the Tabaret (400m) I let her flow into the race by her own accord,” he said.

“I give her a shake late, just to keep her balanced and keep her happy, and she took care of the rest.

“She’s felt pretty good this whole time in. It was probably a lovely second start for this preparation, because she had a fair gut-buster first up in the Lightning when she ran a track record, so just to ease back into the prep off a nice run tonight it will be onwards and upwards hopefully.”

Moody said that would most likely be the $1 million Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m), at Randwick on 13 April.

“The only thing that will stop her is wet tracks,” he said. “All being well, we head off to Sydney for the TJ now.”

Story by Brad Bishop

Courtesy www.racingvictoria.net.au

Moody not calling curtains yet

Her namesake Dame Nellie Melba apparently had a four year farewell tour and while Nellie of Caulfield, a.k.a Black Caviar, is unlikely to go on that long, her trainer Peter Moody said this morning that her current campaign may not be her last.

”That’s the way we are approaching it,” said Moody when asked if Friday night’s Group 1 Hacer Group William Reid Stakes at Moonee Valley, which has been marketed as Black Caviar’s last start in Melbourne is in fact that.

However Moody intimated that if Black Caviar gets to the end of this preparation in her current excellent physical state, then there was a chance that it might not be her final local curtain call.

”Her last 10 runs have been her best, so I’m looking forward to getting through Friday night intact and then on to the T.J. Smith in Sydney.”

The trainer said that in comparison with other great mares, Sunline which raced 48 times and Makybe Diva which had 36 starts, Black Caviar was very lightly raced with only 23 runs for as many wins to date.

”I think she is going as well as ever, so maybe there is another season in her,” he said.

Moody said that Black Caviar had felt her first up run at Flemington when she broke the track record in the Black Caviar Lighting (1000m) but with five weeks between runs and stint on the water walker with Peter Clark at Murchison, she had bounced back well.

”It was a hot day and running those times, she knew she had had a race.”

Black Caviar spent 10 days with Clark and has been back at Caulfield for three weeks to prepare for the Reid Stakes.

Moody said Luke Nolen had slept in this morning but when he made it to the track at 4.30am, he partnered Black Caviar over 800 metres and the trainer was pleased with the work although not quite so happy with her rider.

”She worked lovely, a soft half mile and quickened up the running in the usual fashion,” Moody said, in what was her third gallop on the course proper since her return.

With the William Reid Stakes attracting just six rivals for Black Caviar, including new stablemate Karuta Queen, Moody says the race might well turn out to be run in similar to the last time the pair met.

On that occasion in the Schillaci Stakes at Caulfield in October 2011, Karuta Queen led Black Caviar to the turn but could not match her when the champion quickened.

”Karuta Queen probably leads up on the fence, with Black Caviar outside her and if she’s on song it’s pretty elementary from there,” Moody said, before adding that everything indicates that the champion mare is right on song ahead of Friday’s ‘farewell’ race.

Story by Andrew Garvey

Courtesy www.racingvictoria.net.au

ARB Announce Race Upgrades

The time honoured Skyline Stakes and the Sweet Embrace Stakes for two-year-olds have been elevated to Group 2 Level. These races are vital lead ups to the Group 1 Golden Slipper and their elevation will significantly enhance the robust two-year-old autumn program.

Past winners of the Skyline Stakes include the Golden Slipper winners Dance Hero and Choisir, while Viscount winner of the Sires Produce and Champagne Stakes also won the Skyline. Other Group1 horses to win the Skyline Stakes in recent years include Manhattan Rain, All American, Casino Prince and Snitzel.

The Sweet Embrace has seen Golden Slipper winning fillies Crystal Lily and Ha Ha win the race, while Headway ran a gallant 2nd in the Golden Slipper before going on to be a Group 1 winner herself.

The ARB has approved the recommendations of the Australian Pattern Committee (AusPC) to upgrade 41 races in all. Seven Group 3 races will be upgraded to Group 2 and thirty-three Listed Races will be upgraded to Group 3 status.

The Chairman of AusPC Alan Brown commented:

“Although the volume of upgrades is unprecedented, it is a one-off as a result of Australia adopting the protocols of the Asian Racing Federation and a reassessment of the pattern being undertaken. Within those protocols, AusPC has adopted even stricter benchmarks than those set down. The 41 upgrades comfortably exceed those benchmarks and accurately reflect Australia’s strength of sprinter/miler horses in the world. These upgrades also fit well within the “pyramid” of the pattern whereby the number of Group 3’s should be more than Group 2’s, and more Group 2’s than Group 1’s, and the number of Group 3’s should exceed the total combined of Group 2’s and Group 1’s. The new numbers comply with those guidelines.”

The following races that were ratified by the ARB for Upgrades:

Sweet Embrace Stakes (G3), 1200m, Randwick, NSW Upgraded to G2
Skyline Stakes (G3), 1200m, Randwick, NSW Upgraded to G2
Tranquil Star Stakes (G3), 1400m, Caulfield, VIC Upgraded to G2
Silver Shadow Stakes (G3), 1200m, Warwick Farm, NSW Upgraded to G2
Ian McEwen Trophy (G3), 1000m, Moonee Valley, VIC Upgraded to G2
Rubiton Stakes (G3), 1100m, Caulfield, VIC Upgraded to G2
Millie Fox Stakes (G3), 1300m, Rosehill, NSW Upgraded to G2

Ottawa Stakes (LR), 1000m, Flemington, VIC Upgraded to G3
Keith Mackay Handicap (LR), 1200m, Randwick NSW Upgraded to G3
MRC Chairman’s Stakes (LR), 1100m, Caulfield, VIC Upgraded to G3
Boronia Stakes (LR), 1200m, Caulfield, VIC Upgraded to G3
Ming Dynasty Quality (LR), 1400m, Warwick Farm, NSW Upgraded to G3
Quezette Stakes (LR), 1100m, Caulfield, VIC Upgraded to G3
Manfred Stakes (LR), 1200m, Caulfield, VIC Upgraded to G3
Vain Stakes (LR), 1100m, Caulfield, VIC Upgraded to G3
J H B Carr Stakes (LR), 1400m, Randwick, NSW Upgraded to G3
Typhoon Tracey Stakes (LR), 1200m, Moonee Valley, VIC Upgraded to G3
Zeditave Stakes (LR), 1200m, Moonee Valley, VIC Upgraded to G3
P J Bell Handicap (LR), 1200m, Canterbury, NSW Upgraded to G3
Wenona Girl Handicap (LR), 1200m, Randwick, NSW Upgraded to G3
Kevin Heffernan Stakes (LR), 1300m, Sandown, VIC Upgraded to G3
Angst Quality Handicap (LR), 1500m, Rosehill, NSW Upgraded to G3
Ladies Day Vase (LR), 1600m, Caulfield, VIC Upgraded to G3
The Nivision (LR), 1200m, Randwick, NSW Upgraded to G3
Sheraco Stakes (LR), 1100m, Rosehill, NSW Upgraded to G3
Belle of the Turf Stakes (LR), 1600m, Gosford, NSW Upgraded to G3
Triscay Stakes (LR), 1200m, Rosehill, NSW Upgraded to G3
Tibbie Stakes (LR), 1400m, Newcastle, NSW Upgraded to G3
Wiggle Quality Handicap (LR), 1400, Warwick Farm, NSW Upgraded to G3
Aspiration Quality (LR), 1600, Randwick, NSW Upgraded to G3
Show County Quality (LR), 1200, Warwick Farm, NSW Upgraded to G3
Northwood Plume Stakes (LR), 1200, Caulfield, VIC Upgraded to G3
Begonia Belle Stakes (LR), 1100m, Flemington, VIC Upgraded to G3
Dark Jewel Classic (LR), 1400m, Scone, NSW Upgraded to G3
Toy Show Quality (LR), 1300m, Warwick Farm, NSW Upgraded to G3
The Heath 1100 (LR), 1100m, Caulfield, VIC Upgraded to G3
Sir John Monash Stakes (LR), 1100m, Caulfield, VIC Upgraded to G3
Proud Miss Stakes (LR), 1200m, Morphettville, SA Upgraded to G3
Northerly Stakes (LR), 1400m, Ascot, WA Upgraded to G3
Summoned Stakes (LR), 1500m, Sandown, VIC Upgraded to G3

Lonhro Plate 1100m, Warwick Farm, NSW Upgraded to Listed

Please note that the upgrades will take effect from August 1, 2013.