It will be the Black Caviar of a year ago that runs in the Lightning Stakes at Flemington on Saturday, not the crotchety old mare who last raced at Royal Ascot.
Trainer Peter Moody said he hadn’t been totally convinced Black Caviar’s comeback was on schedule – or that it would happen at all – until the world champion sprinter galloped at Caulfield last Saturday week.
But the way she strolled around the mounting yard and bounced onto the track and then put in a dazzling piece of work, convinced Moody he was doing the right thing.
“That was the Black Caviar of old,” Moody said on Tuesday.
“That was going back to win 17 and 18.”
Win 17 was her first up victory in the Australia Stakes at Moonee Valley in January 2012 and No.18 was the Orr Stakes, her one-and-only run beyond 1200m.
Moody said the version of the otherwise perfect racehorse that stepped out at Ascot four months later was a far different one, even if it was still good enough to win.
“At the end of last preparation she was a bit cranky, swishing her tail and turning her head,” he said.
At her latest public appearance at Caulfield Black Caviar also looked vastly different from the horse who scrambled home in front of the Queen.
Her coat was dappled and gleaming, her eye was bright and she looked more muscled and strong.
“That’s what I wanted to see to give me a positive to go back to the races,” Moody said.
While Moody admitted Black Caviar has been a “day-to-day proposition” for the past two years, there is no question mark over her farewell campaign.
“She’s in the best physical shape injury wise that she’s ever been in,” he said.
“She’s worked nicely since the gallop at Caulfield, she’s handled everything well.”
Black Caviar did a soft 800m piece of work at Caulfield last Saturday and a more serious piece on Tuesday morning.
Acceptances for the Lightning are taken on Wednesday morning with a field of at least eight expected in the $500,000 race.