Unbeaten champion mare Black Caviar has thrilled racegoers, and as expected joined Phar Lap in the history books, by cantering home to one of her easiest wins yet at Caulfield.
The stands were packed and every vantage point taken to watch the Peter Moody-trained mare parade, do her preliminary and then blitz her opposition in her 14th consecutive win in Saturday’s Group Two Schillaci Stakes (1000m).
Jockey Tom Berry, who rode early leader and second-placed Karuta Queen, was in awe of Black Caviar’s performance, describing it as the experience of a lifetime.
“I didn’t think I could beat her. I just thought it would be a dream to beat her,” Berry said.
“She’s a freak. I couldn’t have been going any better and she cantered past me. That will be my biggest thrill.”
A prohibitive $1.07 favourite, Black Caviar breezed to the line 4-1/4 lengths ahead of second favourite Karuta Queen ($13) and Stirling Grove ($31) who was long neck away third.
Moody confessed his relief to see Black Caviar launch her spring campaign with another emphatic win.
“It has been a build-up like no other and just great to have her back on track doing what she does best,” Moody said.
“You always fear something can go wrong and that’s really the only way they will beat her.
“It is pure relief to have her back in great shape.”
He revealed that a gold dollar coin, which he carries in his pocket when Black Caviar races, had been his lucky charm.
The coin was first exchanged between an owner and Moody when she first raced, and every start since.
And Moody predicted the good times would go on with the best still ahead of Black Caviar.
“She has developed into a very imposing horse and maybe the world is her oyster this racing season,” Moody said.
But Moody played down the comparison with Phar Lap.
“To win 14 straight from day one is her uniqueness and no-one can take that away from her, but I don’t think you can ever compare her with Phar Lap who kept a nation on its feet,” Moody said.
Jockey Luke Nolen said Black Caviar, who also won last year’s Schillaci, had control of Saturday’s race a long way from home.
He balanced her up fourth while Karuta Queen went out hard and tried to pinch the race.
But Nolen was never worried.
“She (Black Caviar) travelled right up to Karuta Queen on straightening,” Nolen said.
“She cantered to the front but I gave her a shake up because she was there for a gallop too.”
Nolen estimated that Black Caviar had another 15 per cent improvement to come despite winning the Schillaci untested in 56.73 seconds.
“There is nice improvement in her and that will bring her right on,” Nolen said.
He said the crowd provided an atmosphere that gave him “a buzz”.
“It was a sea of salmon (her racing colours) out there,” Nolen said referring to the complimentary coloured flags and masks distributed to racegoers through the gate to cheer on the queen of the turf.
Berry said he would recommend against Karuta Queen having another showdown with Black Caviar in the Group Two Schweppes Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on Cox Plate day.
“I don’t think there is any point in breaking her heart twice,” Berry said.