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Brits queue for an audience with the queen of the track

3 minute read

Timeform's official Australian representative Gary Crispe is on his eighth trip to the five-day Royal Ascot meeting, and says Black Caviar fever has gripped Britain.

"It has been phenomenal the attention Black Caviar has received," Crispe said.

"Not just the racing channels, but CNN, the BBC, all those big organisations are looking to cover the Black Caviar story.

"There was over 100 journalists at Newmarket on Thursday morning. I haven't seen anything like it ... the coverage is unbelievable and it hasn't stopped," he said.

"Ryan Moore, the champion jockey, reckons he is well and truly over the Black Caviar phenomenon."

Randwick trainer John O'Shea, who had to abandon Foxwedge's Royal Ascot campaign, still went over on a fact-finding mission.

"She is the main story, on all the main new services, she has made the front page of the major dailies here," O'Shea said.

The Peter Moody-trained Black Caviar is out to extend her unbeaten sequence to 22 in Saturday's Diamond Jubilee Stakes on the final day of the Queen's meeting, which is regarded as the best in the world.

Fellow Aussie mare Ortensia, which claimed another group 1 at the Dubai World Cup meeting, goes around tomorrow night in the King's Stand Stakes.

"I know trainer Paul Messara is very happy with Ortensia and she looks to be right where he wants her," Crispe said.

"But it is all about Black Caviar and I think it is unbelievable publicity for Australian racing. Coverage in the mainstream news is probably unheralded. Their hero, Frankel, who is rated at 143, in the top four Timeform-rated horses of all time, doesn't get anywhere near the same amount of coverage.

"Wouldn't it be fitting if the Queen, in her diamond jubilee, won the 150th running of the Prince Of Wales with Carlton House.

"It is as good a race as you'll see because you've got Cirrus Des Aigles, So You Think and several other top horses from Europe.

"Last year the Aussie interest was all about So You Think; this year he doesn't get a mention. The other big race, the Hardwicke Stakes on the final day, features Dunaden and Red Cadeaux; they quinellaed the last Melbourne Cup, they don't even get a mention. That's the thing, they are all on the Black Caviar undercard."

Unprecedented security is in place at the Abington Place stables of Jane Chapple-Hyam where Black Caviar is staying.

"Over the years I've been coming, the stables have been easily accessible," Crispe said.

"But you cannot go in as normal, everyone has been restricted, the media have had to wait until she comes out for a pick of grass or goes over to the gallops. The restrictions haven't been all that well received by the media over here but they are still reporting on her."

Black Caviar looks in perfect order to the eye of Crispe, and while the weather has been "miserable" the founder of Racing And Sports believes the Royal Ascot track "dries out pretty quick".

"She looks fantastic and she is raring to go," Crispe said.

"She may need another hit-out before the race but Peter Moody is now in town and jockey Luke Nolen is due to arrive tomorrow. Moody and the team have left nothing to chance."

O'Shea reckons the odds about Black Caviar extending her unbeaten run will be enticing. "I wouldn't be surprised if the bookies over here risk her," he said. "She has been $1.04 at her last 10 starts in Australia and you may even get $1.30 here, not bad about a $1.04 chance."

While many locals are dodging Black Caviar, not so the France-based Freddie Head, who will start Moonlight Cloud in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes.

"Black Caviar is going to be a big challenge but that's what racing is for, you have to compete against the best," Head told the Racing Post. "I never duck any challenge with my horses, and we are trying once again. Black Caviar will need to be at her best to beat her."


Article taken from The Sydney Morning Herald, published on Monday, 18th June 2012, Author, Craig Young.

Racing and Sports