|Saturday, 16 June 2012
: The Australian wonder horse is in the UK and don't we know it! Ryan Moore wishes the hype could die down and just let the horse do the talking in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes next Saturday
When I was asked to do this piece, my ears immediately went back. Because I was reluctant to add to the Black Caviar coverage that has been dominating the press this week. But I was told that Betfair's Australian customers wanted to know my thoughts, so here goes...
Firstly, I am surprised that Matt Chapman hasn't been staking out Mike de Kock's yard in Newmarket this week monitoring the regularity of Black Caviar's bowel movements.
Sorry to be a bit crude - and I feel a bit bad about saying this - but it feels that every day for the last three months Chapman has been on ATR banging on about the horse, and we have even seen pictures of owners waving the horse off at the airport. I honestly feel like the coverage is in danger of boring people to death before the meeting has even begun; there have been pages of the stuff daily on the horse, it is overkill and I can't bring myself to read it.
I ask you: "21 things you didn't know about Black Caviar." Whoever wrote that article earlier in the week deserves a medal - and anyone who read it needs to go and find something better to do - because there can be no-one in racing that doesn't know everything about the horse now.
What they do know, if they have any idea of how to read a form book, is that she will run and she will win.
Don't get me wrong, I think it is very sporting of her owners to bring the horse over for the race. Very sporting and brave.
If I owned her, I personally wouldn't see the point and I don't think she has anything to prove against these. Yes, it's a new challenge and that is to be applauded but every time you put a horse on a plane it's a risk.
So fair play to Peter Moody, who has proved himself a phenomenal trainer these past few years, and connections for bringing her over. And all credit for Ascot and their persuasive PR team for getting the horse there; it just goes to show how prestigious the Royal meeting is. It is clearly a massive boost to the week.
I can't envisage how she will be beaten - let's hope she isn't anyway after all the coverage, and fingers crossed she gets to the race fit and well and the weather doesn't turn really nasty and ride bottomless on the Saturday. Because it would be one hell of an anti-climax if she didn't run and deliver.
But the only thing other than the weather that could beat her at Ascot - namely a big field which splits into different groups with a speed and draw bias (wherever that may be) - doesn't look like materialising.
At this stage there could be 12 runners or less, not 20 or so, so that takes bad luck in-running out of the equation to a large extent.
Plenty of good things have been beaten at Ascot down the years, though.
I'm not sure whether beaten handicappers is particularly relevant but the boss only said to me yesterday that Pilsudski managed to get beaten off a mark of 82 there, and any number of well-handicapped horses have come unstuck in the Hunt Cup and the Britannia; indeed Bankable had 20lb in hand when beaten off 99 in the 2008 Hunt Cup. The first four home were drawn 27-30-26-25, and he was fifth from stall 6. Two starts later he ran Raven's Pass to a length at Goodwood, and the winner went on to win the QEII and the Breeders' Cup Classic that season.
If he can get beaten off 99, then anything can happen.
And, as an Arsenal fan watching Nicklas Bendtner scoring for Denmark and Andrei Arshavin playing superbly for Russia, clearly anything can happen in sport, too.
This race has seen some shocks down the years with Les Arcs in 2006, Art Connoisseur getting the rail and winning in 2009, and Society Rock was another big priced winner last year.
So good things get beaten here and outsiders win. But I can't recall any horse coming into this race with so much in hand of their rivals and such tactical speed to get out of any bad position.
There has never been one like her, she is brilliant; her physique, her constitution and the way she simply makes Group 1 winners in Australia look like Group 3 animals marks her down as a deeply special racehorse.
A lot of people are making much of the fact that she weighs so much, but you shouldn't be that surprised at all. Look at Olympic sprinters compared to middle distance runners; you need a different kind of shape in horses as well as athletes.
There are no set rules as to the best physique for a sprinter, it's not an exact science - for example, Fleeting Spirit was quite a lean horse, though she had a real shape to her and a big arse. But you generally need a more rounded horse with more muscle, and that equates to more power and more speed. And more weight.
It is always a concern when any horse travels such a long distance - and especially when they travel for the first time - but the Australians' record in sprints over here shows that they know what they are doing. And you have to be impressed by Moody.
Moonlight Cloud is as good a sprinter as there is in Europe at the moment and is the only horse I can see getting anywhere near an on-form Black Caviar. She won well on her reappearance and her win in the Maurice de Gheest last year marks her down as the sole threat to the favourite. But she disappointed here on Champions Day in October.
It should be a procession for Black Caviar.
But money-buyers should remember the likes of Bankable.
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