Black Caviar’s special return

Perhaps Peter Moody wasn’t joking. As inconceivable as it sounded, Black Caviar’s trainer had been saying for weeks that the world’s best racehorse has come back better than ever and today she showed why.

The unbeaten megastar produced one of the performances of her unprecedented 23-start career to win the race that is now named in her honour, the $500,000 Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning, in front of 27,047 rapturous fans at Flemington.

The six-year-old daughter of Bel Esprit not only became the first horse to win Australia’s only 1000-metre Group 1 three times, she broke a 25-year-old track record when leading home a Moody-trained trifecta.

In defeating stablemates Moment of Change and Golden Archer, Black Caviar stopped the clock at 55.42 seconds, clipping 0.08secs of Special’s previous mark, which had been the second-oldest track record at Australia’s most famous racecourse.

Moody said it was great to see her return as good as ever given career looked over her Diamond Jubilee Stakes win at Royal Ascot last June.

“We were on a hiding to nothing by bringing her back, the job was done and we thought it was over but to come back and do that and run a record…I’m lost for words,” Victoria’s premier trainer said.

“I think it was the first time I’ve been nervous for a long time, I suppose it was the seven-month break, but I’m just so proud of her.”

It was a case of more of the same from Black Caviar once the gates opened for the opening leg of both the G1 Sprint Championship and Global Sprint Challenge. After jumping moderately, she took up a forward position before putting her rivals to the sword at the 350m.

The $1.10 favourite quickly put four lengths on her rivals and was given as easy time of things late by jockey Luke Nolen but cruised home by 2-1/2 lengths from Moment of Change ($21) with Golden Archer ($41) 3-1/4 lengths back third.

Nolen, who has now ridden Black Caviar to 20 of her 23 wins and all but one of her 13 Group 1 victories, said he was surprised with how fast she went.

“She didn’t tow up like she can through the early and middle stages, but she towed me into it nicely and I gave her a squeeze because I didn’t want to get complacent with win 23,” he said.

“Because you’re out on your own and it is a big track when the rail is back to the true and the wind is going about you don’t get a real appreciation of how quick you are going.

“I had a look at the time when I rolled back in and I thought we might have gone a bit quicker than how it felt.”

Moody didn’t reveal post-race where he was likely to head next, but she is likely to be among the second acceptances for the $1 million Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on 9 March when they are taken on Tuesday.

Story by Brad Bishop