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