Outstanding mare Alverta will begin her final racing campaign in the toughest way possible, against champion Black Caviar in Saturday’s TJ Smith Stakes at Randwick.
Trainer Paul Messara is realistic about the task in front of Alverta and is already looking ahead to the Brisbane winter carnival.
“Of course I’m scared of Black Caviar and I’m not expecting Alverta to win, we are all running for second and third,” Messara said.
“But she has to start somewhere.
“Her aim is the Brisbane winter – the Doomben 10,000, the Stradbroke and the Winter Stakes which is likely to be her last race.
“This will definitely be her last season of racing.
“She will be eight in the spring. She has already been to stud once but didn’t get in foal.”
The winner of last year’s Coolmore Classic, Alverta travelled to England for the Golden Jubilee at Royal Ascot.
While she didn’t have the best of luck in that race and finished a little worse than midfield, Alverta went on to run a creditable third in the July Cup, considered one of the toughest sprints anywhere in the world.
She then raced seventh in a Group One race in France before returning home.
There were eight Group One winners among the 14 entries for the $1 million TJ Smith (1200m).
Black Caviar has a perfect record from her 11 starts and last week was named the world’s highest ranked racehorse.
The TJ will be her first start outside Victoria and her only race in Sydney with a Brisbane campaign also on her agenda.
The Chris Waller-trained Triple Honour, winner of the 2008 Doncaster, also makes his autumn return in the TJ Smith.
Waller is extremely happy with Triple Honour but is under no illusions about his chances against Black Caviar.
“I think he will be very competitive in the Hollindale Cup third-up,” he said.
“He will follow the same path Metal Bender did last year.”
Metal Bender ran in the TJ Smith and All-Aged Stakes before travelling north to take out the Hollindale at the Gold Coast and the Group One Doomben Cup.
Hay List, who ran second to Black Caviar in the Lightning Stakes and Crystal Lily, runner-up to the great mare at her past two starts in the Newmarket Handicap and William Reid Stakes, have both been entered for the TJ Smith.