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