Sunday, 24 June 2012
: One could be excused for thinking Day 5 of the Royal Ascot meeting had been renamed Black Caviar day.
Right from the moment the on-course TV broadcast (Ascot TV) commenced it was all about the unbeaten mare from down-under.
Black Caviar flags, Black Caviar ties and even some Black Caviar dresses were the order of the day.
The Ascot racecourse was also inundated with thousands of Australians – not only the connections and families and those that live in and around London, but also from around the globe.
Plane loads arrived from Australia with estimates of around 7000 Australians among the more than 77,000 strong crowd.
Fine weather greeted patrons on arrival at the racetrack although the skies darkened when Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II arrived. Shortly after a sharp downpour drenched those packed around the parade ring to witness her arrival.
While the rain sent patrons scurrying for shelter it didn't dampen the mood as the crowd awaited Black Caviar's race – the Group 1 The Diamond Jubilee Stakes over six furlongs (1200m).
Huge cheers greeted the mare when she made her way into the parade ring and everytime the mare passed the large Australian contingent another round of applause echoed out.
And punters on-course certainly didn't forget to back the mare which was sent out the 1-6 favourite.
Things went smoothly during the race until jockey Luke Nolen started to relax in the last 50m of the contest and it nearly brought the winning sequence of 21 unbeaten runs to end until Black Caviar rallied again to make it 22 straight victories.
In the end Black Caviar scored by a head over Moonlight Cloud (Thierry Jarnet) with Restiadargent (Alex Pantell) a neck away third.
Following the race trainer Peter Moody indicated the great mare may have run her last race.
“This was always going to be the greatest risk of her career and for the last five or six runs we've been prepared to accept it might be her last,” said Moody.
“Hopefully that's not the case today, but if she's as tired and worn out when she gets home she may have graced the track for the final time.
“I won't hesitate in any shape or form, but let's not put the cart before the horse. We would love to bring her up for the spring at home and that's been our intention which is why it's never been about dominance, margins or ratings because we want to look after her as much as we can.
“If we had pushed for ratings her career might have been over eight or nine runs ago.”
Moody said that despite the narrow margin of the win he was extremely proud of the mare.
“You only have to win by a quarter of an inch,” said Moody. “That's what we were prepared to come here and win by. We have got the job done.
“We never expected to dominate. We have never asked her for dominance. She gets the job done. We are more concerned about her next run than we are today.
“We are extremely proud of her. She's 22 of 22 and it's never been about margins and it's never been about dominance.
“I am an extremely proud Aussie. Words can't describe the feeling. Just to be here and take it all in. It's an unbelievable feeling and it's very befitting that it's with a horse like this.
“It was quite overwhelming (to meet The Queen) and there's no doubt that Her Majesty is certainly a horse lover.
“The two Queens of Australia – maybe.”
Nolen said he probably underestimated the testing track of Ascot.
“I was being kind to her late and she had had enough and that big engine throttled right down,” said Nolen.
“It's quite fortunate because it is going to over-shadow what was a very good win. They are going to talk more about my brain-fade than the horse's fantastic effort.
“I understand the testing straight six here and we got away with it.
“We won and it doesn't matter, does it? It may overshadow what was a fantastic run by the horse. Hopefully, my performance hasn't overshadowed what was a great effort by the whole team.”
The Group 2 The Hardwicke Stakes over a mile-and-a-half (2400m) was the other major event on final day and it was taken out by Sea Moon, which races in the same colours as the unbeaten Frankel, but is prepared by Sir Michael Stoute and ridden by Ryan Moore.
Well supported, Sea Moon scored by three-and-a-quarter lengths from the Melbourne Cup quinella of Dunaden (Christophe Lemaire) and Red Cadeaux (Tom McLaughlin).
Next month's King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes is next on the agenda for Sea Moon while Dunaden could also be a contestant in that race with the Prix d'le Arc de Triomphe at Chantilly in October a major consideration.
Red Cardeaux on the other hand is to have a short break and is set to return to Flemington for the Melbourne Cup in November and redemption for his narrow defeat in last year's race.
The opening race was taken out by the Godolphin-owned Tha'ir, a two-year-old colt by New Approach which provided trainer Saeed bin Suroor and jockey Frankie Dettori with their second winner for the meeting.
Tha'ir came with a strong run to score running away by two-and-a-quarter lengths over Cruck Realta (Matthews Davies) with Lovely Pass (Silvestre De Sousa) a neck away third.
Dandy Boy, ridden by Pat Dobbs, took the race following Black Caviar's and ran the six furlong trip of The Wokingham Stakes 0.23 seconds faster in scoring by a length-and-a-quarter over Waffle (Fran Berry) with Hawkeyethenoo (Graham Lee) a half-length away third.
The John Gosden-trained and William Buick-ridden Camborne staged a stunning last-to-first performance to score in The Duke of Edinburgh Stakes by two-and-a-half lengths over Hammerfest (Gerald Mosse) with Harrison's Cave (Joseph O'Brien) a half-length away third.
The longest race of the five days and the final event of the program was taken out by Simenon.
Run over the marathon journey of two miles five furlongs and 159 yards (4300m) The Queen Alexandra Stakes, Simenon, ridden by Ryan Moore, scored by seven lengths from Shahwardi (Gerald Mosse) with Romeo Mantague (Johnny Murtagh) a length-and-a-half away third.