Seventeen straight for Caviar

Black Caviar extended her unbeaten run to 17 claiming her second Australia Stakes.

World champion sprinter Black Caviar did not let her army of fans down at Moonee Valley tonight when she stretched her amazing winning streak to 17.

With crowds reminiscent of a Cox Plate Day wildly cheering her on, racing’s pin-up girl was untroubled to secure her second Group 2 $200,000 Essendon Mazda Australia Stakes (1200m).

The 2010 Australia Stakes winner, who was sent out a prohibitive $1.05 favourite, coasted to a four-and-a-quarter length victory over five rivals to maintain her record unbeaten run.

Despite jockey Luke Nolen barely releasing the brakes the five-year-old went within 0.11 seconds of claiming another Australian Horse of the Year, Miss Andretti’s, track record.

It was the perfect start to a year that will see Peter Moody’s mare enter unchartered waters with her first appearances beyond 1200 metres and her first foray onto the world stage.

“Hopefully it’s the start of a wonderful six months,” a relieved Moody said alluding to a campaign targeted at the UK’s famous Royal Ascot meeting in June.

“It’s just wonderful to see her back in great shape. She’s really pleased us at home and it’s great to see that come to the races.”

Nolen parked the champion mare third behind eventual placegetters Zedi Knight and Doubtful Jack before easing her around the leaders at the 400 metres before cruising to victory.

“It wasn’t the strongest competition she’s met, but she relaxed nicely off an even speed and towed up nicely before the Tabaret (400m mark),” he said.

“I just gave her a squeeze because there was a bit going on here tonight, I didn’t get complacent, just to make sure she took full benefit of the gallop.

“I’m not going to say she’s better than what she was, but she didn’t have to improve,” he added.

“Physically she’s a bit more mature now, she felt great underneath me and I felt off the back today there’s improvement in here.”

She’ll now face a new challenge when she steps up to 1400 metres for the first time in the Group 1 Sportingbet Orr Stakes at Caulfield on 11 February, but Moody and Nolen hold little fears about the rise in distance.

Talk naturally turned to her international plans after the win, but Moody was reluctant to look beyond her next two starts at Caulfield in a fortnight and again over 1400 metres on 25 February.

Victoria’s premier trainer drew inspiration from legendary AFL coach Kevin Sheedy, who raced Black Caviar’s sire Bel Esprit, when he told the media throng that he’ll take it “one match at a time”.

A humbled Moody again said he was proud to be a part of Black Caviar’s fairytale journey.

“She’s just terrific for our sport. We know Melbourne is probably the greatest sporting city in the world, but to see people turning up and enjoying the evening like this is just tremendous,” he said.

“We’re usually getting a kicking if we’re on the front page of the newspaper. This filly puts us on the front page for the right reasons and it’s just great to be a part of.”

Black Caviar’s victory saw her join 1950s New Zealand star Mainbrace and modern day Hong Kong hero Silent Witness on 17 consecutive wins.

When she ventures to Caulfield for the Orr Stakes she’ll be striving to join 1940s Australian great Ajax on 18 straight wins.

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