Black Caviar notched a 19th straight win in Saturday’s Lightning Stakes.
She had to fight for it, but Black Caviar equalled the Australian metropolitan record for the most consecutive wins when she prevailed in a stirring $750,000 Group 1 Coolmore Lightning Stakes at Flemington on Saturday.
The unbeaten mare matched the efforts of Gloaming and Desert Gold, who won 19 races in a row almost 100 years ago, when she again prevailed over arch rival Hay List in the 1000-metre scamper.
It was the first time the daughter of Bel Esprit had backed up two weekends in a row, following her effortless C.F. Orr Stakes win at Caulfield, and her performance brought uncustomary responses from the usually cool trainer/jockey combination of Peter Moody and Luke Nolen.
“I just want to take my hat off to that mare, because she really toughed it out and she touched me today,” an emotional Nolen said. “The chips were down and she showed a lot of courage.
“She has been a bit of a protected species, especially the way she goes about winning her races, and it was great to see that when the chips were down, how much courage she had.”
Moody was similarly touched, suggesting after the race that it was the first time he had ever asked anything of his stable star while also paying credit to Hay List.
“It’s the first serious task I’ve set her and I said to Luke, ‘I feel a bit sorry for her and you because it’s the first time I’ve ever placed either of you under pressure’,” Moody said.
“But she shone through like the top horse that she is.
“Anytime she has been up for a fight, he (Hay List) is the only horse that has made her fight. With all due respect, he is a great horse, but it’s just unfortunate that he’s run into a freak.”
Black Caviar jumped well from the middle barrier and raced in between Hay List, who held a half-length margin to her outside, with Buffering racing to her inside well clear of their rivals.
Nolen edged up alongside Hay List at the 400m but not long after had to urge the mare along to go with Hay List, causing the crowd of 22,806 to hold its collective breath.
The two sprint stars engaged a spirited duel for 100m before Black Caviar gained the edge, pulling clear to score by 1-3/4 lengths.
Her winning time of 55.53 seconds – which included a sizzling 31.78secs final 600m, and a jaw-dropping 9.98secs split from the 600m to the 400m – was just 0.03secs outside Special’s seemingly unachievable track record, set in the 1988 Lightning Stakes.
Although relegated to the runner-up stall in a Group 1 for the fourth time by Black Caviar, the $1.10 favourite, Hay List ($12) no admirers in defeat at his first run since May with Buffering ($71) battling away to claim third, two lengths back, just in advance of Foxwedge ($21).
Black Caviar lifted her earnings to $5,193,050 with her ninth Group 1 success, but Moody is unsure where she is likely to go next with next Saturday’s $500,000 Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) unlikely given the tough Lightning run she had.
“I would pretty much say that she won’t be there next week,” Moody said. “For her to be there next Saturday, she probably had to have it softer today, so we will let the dust settle but she needed to have it softer today to butter up three weeks in a row.
“I’ll sit down with the owners, but if she goes to Dubai (for next month’s $2 million Golden Shaheen), she has probably run her last race in Australia this prep.”