You don’t have to be a scientist to know that our girls down under do it better. You only have to look as far as Miranda Kerr to see that. I mean I could back up my statement with scores of successful Australian athletes, performers or businesswomen but seriously; Miranda Kerr.
The brilliance of the female species in Australia was again on show this weekend with Atlantic Jewel turning the Group 2 Stock Stakes in to a track gallop; barely raising a sweat while running almost half a second faster than the open age feature of the day, the Dato’ Tan Chin Nam stakes. In Australia we have been blessed with an abundance of female equine talent, and with the recent return of Australian Racing’s ‘darling’, it seems only fair to have a retrospective view of, in my opinion, the top five horses of the fairer sex to grace the tracks in the past decade.
5 More Joyous.
Sydney-siders will be cursing my name to the skies for not putting their darling higher up this list. More Joyous was the pride of Sydney racing throughout a glittering career in which the daughter of More than Ready took out eight Group One races and amassed over $4.5 million prize money. While Sydney’s wonder-mare may sadly be best remembered as the centre-piece of the ‘Waterhouse-gate scandal’ that erupted earlier this year, in her prime More Joyous was the dominant force in Sydney Racing. Besides her debut in a 1100m maiden handicap at Rosehill, ‘MJ’ never raced out of black type company and retired with an incredible 22 wins from 33 starts. The mark against Singo’s prized mare, and the thing that keep her from being remembered as a champion, was her tendency to fall short on the big stage. She failed as favourite in the Golden Slipper as a two year-old, has failed twice in the Cox Plate and took two attempts to win the Doncaster Handicap. She has the racebook record of an all-time great, but is missing the big scalps that define a champion horse.
4 Miss Andretti
Perhaps a slightly controversial inclusion in fourth position is Miss Andretti. By far the most prolific progeny of Irish stallion Ihtirim, Miss Andretti dazzled Melbourne punters throughout her tenure with champion trainer Lee Freedman. Sold on to Melbourne based interests by original trainer David Mueller after a successful three year-old career in Perth, Miss Andretti dominated the sprinting scene in Australia, taking out a host of Australia’s premiere sprinting races. After winning the Group One Manikato Stakes, Lightning Stakes, William Reid and the Newmarket handicap as a five year-old, Miss Andretti ventured to Royal Ascot where she decimated a world-class field in winning the now Group One King’s Stand Stakes in track record time. She was duly crowned Australian Champion Horse of the Year for her dominant 2007 racing season, before the lure of motherhood took her mind off the track. She is the only thoroughbred in racing history to simultaneously hold a total of five track records in Australia and England, an incredible feat which places her well in the ranks of Australia’s best female horses over the past decade.
3 Atlantic Jewel
The boom behind this mare at the moment is incredible. The ease with which she has been able to devastate quality fields while running exceptional is chilling. The only question for punters now is dare we dream to think we have another mare as great as our lists following entrants, so soon after their departures? Atlantic Jewel to some extent still has a task ahead of her. She has won at Group One level against her own age and sex (Thousand Guineas) as well as in open class in Sydney (All Aged Stakes) and Melbourne (Memsie Stakes) and seemingly has the world at her feet. Unbeaten in nine starts, the five year-old daughter of Fastnet Rock will plot a path towards this year’s Cox Plate through this Saturdays Group One Underwood Stakes. On the quick back-up after an effortless demolition of a sub-standard Stock Stakes field last weekend, a victory against one of the hottest Underwood Stakes fields ever could well and truly set Atlantic Jewel on the path to greatness.
2 Makybe Diva
The Diva! Upon returning to scale after winning an historic third Melbourne Cup, trainer Lee Freedman is famously quoted as saying, “Go find the smallest child on this course, and there will be the only example of a person who will live long enough to see that again”. Makybe Diva was a once in a generation horse, who will forever be the benchmark for staying mares. Her record speaks for itself: three Melbourne Cups, a Cox Plate, Australian Cup and Sydney Cup plus a host of other black type victories make the Diva the highest stakes-earner in Australasian horse racing history. However the measure of a champion can also be taken by the company it keeps. Makybe Diva was taking on some of the strongest fields Australian racing produced in the past decade. She took on multiple Irish St Leger winner Vinnie Roe, Caulfield Cup winners Elvestroem and Mummify, Melbourne Cup winner Media Puzzle, the pride of Godolphin in Mamool (Australian punters see: Ma-mule) as well as Cox Plate winner Fields of Omagh and punished each. She set a number of weight carrying records, before smashing them again herself, carrying an incredible 2kg over the WFA scale in her final Melbourne Cup triumph. Makybe Diva was deservedly named Australian Champion Racehorse three times running from 2003-2005, an honour shared by perhaps the best race mare to set foot on Australian soil….
1- Black Caviar
What more can be said about the great mare? If Makybe Diva was once in a generation, Black Caviar is once in a lifetime. Black Caviar’s dominance exceeded any measure previously held for racehorses within Australia. Despite being retired four months ago, she is still rated the best racehorse in the world, with her international ranking of 130 the pinnacle for racehorses across the globe. Her statistical records barely do justice to her racetrack brilliance. Undefeated in 25 starts, Black Caviar took on the best the world could throw at her and made them look like donkeys. Her undefeated streak set a record that had not been bettered for over 100 years. Yet even this barely starts to do justice to Black Caviar’s brilliance. She has been described as “brutal power wrapped in an elegant machine”, “the pride of Australia”, “the greatest show on earth”, “the invincible one”, “the wonder mare”, “the mighty champion”, “the greatest ever”, “unparalleled”, “perfect” and has deserved each as much as the next. There will never be another like Black Caviar.
She just may be Australian racing’s version of Miranda Kerr.
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