The odds on Black Caviar making it 22 straight wins at the Diamond Jubilee Stakes are shortening all the time, with a perfect 21-out of-21 over her career she’s probably the finest filly to come out of Australia since Nicole Kidman or Kylie. She's the first horse in Australia to break 10 seconds for a furlong in an official Thoroughbred race – giving her a top speed of an incredible 72.14 km/h or 45.09 mph. She’s started odds-on favourite in all of her races except her very first on April 18, 2009 at Flemington in Melbourne.
Yes, they call her ‘The Wonder from Down Under’ and that is exactly what she is. Black Caviar, trained by Peter Moody at his stable at Caulfield Racecourse in Victoria, Australia, is getting ready to set the British race horsing scene on fire when she takes on Europe’s best sprinters in the six furlong Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot. The race will be her first public appearance in the Northern Hemisphere, but she’s already immortalised in the racing history books as the greatest sprinter in the world and the second highest-rated horse on the planet behind British-trained miler, Frankel.
Along with her perfect-win record, eleven of her 21 victories have been in Group 1 races, the highest class of Thoroughbred race, and she has won over five furlongs (1,000 meters) five times, six furlongs (1,200 meters) 15 times and seven furlongs (1,400 meters) once. The move outside of Australia and into the international racing arena will ensure her superstar status forever if she is successful in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes.
She already has her own range of merchandise, from ties and key rings to T-shirts and baseball caps – plus a massive and hugely loyal Australian fan base. Owned by lifelong friends, Colin and Jannene Madden, Gary and Kerryn Wilkie, Neil Werrett, Pam Hawkes, and David Taylor and bought for a cool £132,000, she’s given great value for money by winning more than £3.6 million in prize money and is likely to have a very lucrative breeding career once she retires. It was seafood lover, Pam Hawkes who came up with Black Caviar's name and recently said: “Black Caviar is the best thing that has ever happened to me. It is a dream come true to have this beautiful horse.”
Even the jockey's very appropriate colours – salmon pink with black dots to represent the caviar – was dreamt up within the syndicate by Gary and Kerryn Wilkie's daughter. Gary said about Black Caviar: “You can't imagine it. It's a little surreal. You see the way she affects people, this animal we have equity in, and you just think – how lucky am I?” Luke Nolen has worn her distinctive colours in all her starts apart from her first two runs and in the Patinack Farm Classic, where Ben Melham rode her while Nolen was suspended.
At the end of her last race (the Group One Goodwood at Adelaide’s Morphettville) jockey Luke Nolen, who eased her to victory by more than a length, said: “We were never out of second gear.” It seems that Black Caviar is used to winning very easily, often needing to be eased down in the closing stages, and her odds reflect this – usually 1-20 or shorter in her recent races.
In Australia, the excitement over the Ascot race is palpable and everyone is expecting a win for the nation’s favourite racehorse. The race will be shown live on a big screen in Melbourne's Federation Square. Denis Napthine, Victoria’s minister for racing, said that he hoped as many locals and tourists as possible would “come together to share this moment in racing history.”
Rob Hines, chief executive of Racing Victoria, said: “Black Caviar's appearance in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes in front of the Queen is a landmark moment for Australian sport and this special broadcast at Federation Square is the perfect way for those unable to attend to share in a piece of history.”
Black Caviar, who flew to the UK in a specially designed Lycra pressure suit, looks all set for the race: “The facts and figures tell you there's not a horse out there who can beat her.” Trainer, Peter Moody is reported to have said.
The Diamond Jubilee Stakes takes place on the fifth and final day of Royal Ascot. It’s likely to be the most hotly-anticipated race of the week, although most racing fans are of the opinion that Black Caviar simply has to turn up at the track to win. Even so, Moody has warned that he won’t let Black Caviar run if she was not 100% fit: “If I take her all the way over there and she is not right I won't run her for the sake of running,” he said.
Black Caviar is the bookmaker’s favourite for the race; ahead of local sprinters Bated Breath and Hoof It. She is currently best-priced at 4/9 (bet £90 to make £40 profit) with Ladbrokes and Paddy Power Bookmakers to win her first race in Britain – but there may well be even shorter odds on the day of the race. Even at 4/9 she rates as an attractive bet; considering she is regularly sent off at odds of 1/20.
Second in the betting is Bated Breath, who is 8/1 with Paddy Power and Sporting Bet; he will be a popular each-way bet if he lines up. The second best horse in this field on the Timeform weight-adjust ratings is the flying French filly Moonlight Cloud who is priced at 12/1 with Boylesports and Bodog. Defending champion Society Rock is priced at 14/1 with William Hill but, whilst he could manage a place, few believe that he can win. Hoof It is 16/1 with Sporting Bet but has been weak in the betting since his poor performance at York. Krypton Factor is an intended runner and is 20/1 with Coral. The Cheka is 40/1 with Paddy Power to win. Hitchens is 50/1 with bet365. Lethal Force is consistent at a lower level for Clive Cox and could take his chance at 100/1. Paddy Power go 10/11 that both Frankel and Black Caviar win this month, and it is 7/2 that Australia win both the big sprints.
The Diamond Jubilee Stakes is live on the BBC. It takes place at 3.50pm BST on Saturday 23 June.