Black Caviar could face one of the biggest fields of her career in the Group Two Australia Stakes following unexpected interest in taking on the unbeaten champion.
For much of her career Black Caviar has scared off her opposition but 12 potential rivals have been nominated for Friday’s feature sprint at Moonee Valley with the possibility of more contenders with the entries extended until Tuesday morning.
The biggest field Black Caviar has raced was at her debut in April 2009 when she beat 11 runners down the straight at Flemington.
Twice last year she beat 10 horses in the Group One Newmarket Handicap and the Group One T J Smith at Randwick.
In seven of her race starts, nearly half of her runs, she has had three to six rivals with the Group Two Schweppes Stakes at Moonee Valley on October 22 two starts ago, being the smallest.
Black Caviar is chasing her 17th win in the Australia Stakes which she won two years ago against only four other runners.
Despite the larger than expected entry for the Valley, Black Caviar, as usual, is certain to be at virtually unbackable odds.
Black Caviar’s Peter Moody-trained stablemate Doubtful Jack is among the nominations while Mark Webb is the other trainer with dual representation having entered the promising Johannapine and last-start Ararat maiden winner Arrogant Cat.
Mosheen and Rock Classic are the other Group One winners nominated in the Australia Stakes.
The Robert Smerdon-trained Mosheen hasn’t started since her nine-length romp in last spring’s Victorian Oaks while Bart Cummings’ 2010 Australian Guineas winner Rock Classic is on the comeback trail after a tendon injury.
Mosheen galloped strongly at Moonee Valley on Monday when she had her first look at the track but Smerdon said she was likely to miss Friday night’s race.
Race jockey Danny Nikolic rode the filly in the Valley work out but reported she was still fraction underdone and would better off if her autumn program launch was delayed a week.
Smerdon said a final decision would be made on Wednesday but buoyed by Nikolic’s recommendation, he is now leaning towards running Mosheen first-up at Caulfield on February 4.
Mosheen galloped alone over 1000 metres in 64.85s, running her last 600m in 36.35s and last 400m in 24.1s
“She worked well which you expect as that is just the norm for her but she got a bit lost for while there on her own,” Smerdon said.
“She had a bit of a blow afterwards and Danny reckons she would benefit from another week.”