Black Caviar edges out Moonlight Cloud
Saturday 23 June 2012
By Geoffrey Riddle
1 Black Caviar (L Nolen) 1-6 Fav
2 Moonlight Cloud (T Jarnet) 5-1
3 Restiadargent (M Guyon) 40-1
Black Caviar won the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot today, but only just.
The six-year-old was involved in a photo-finish with Moonlight Cloud, with Restiadargent in third.
Luke Nolen was flat to the boards in the final stages as the six-year-old mare fought off her two rivals by a head and a neck in 1m 14.01secs to pick up her 22th consecutive victory.
"I thought she would coast but when I relaxed on her she eased down, it took me by surprise," Nolen said. "I underestimated the testing track and I let her idle. Because it was such a test for her, her engine shut down."
It was Black Caviar’s 12th success at the highest level and her 16th victory in all over six furlongs.
The winner’s cheque of £283,550.00 takes her total career earnings up to £391,3951 but whether she can add to that haul is debatable as trainer Peter Moody revealed that her best days may be behind her.
"It's always a worry and she has been going a long time," the trainer said. "We'll see when we get her back, but I won't hesitate in any shape or form (to retire her).
"When she was at the half mile I knew she wasn't travelling as she should have done.
"You have only got to win by a quarter of an inch."
The ‘wonder from down under’ was a best-priced 1-3 with Paddy Power in the morning but was hammered down in the lead-up to the Group 1 sprint to be sent off the overwhelming 1-6 favourite.
Coral had not even priced up a Black Caviar victory by anything under three lengths.
Such was the interest in the lead-up to the race that Ascot sold 3,500 tickets to people they knew to be Australian.
Although Charles Barnett, the Ascot chief executive, had stated tongue in cheek that nearly every Antipoedean in London would travel to the Berkshire track, in fact most of them didn’t get as far as Shepherd’s Bush. There, safely ensconced in the Walkabout Bar they watched all 74 seconds of the action on an 18ft projection screen and on 35 televisions dotted around the bar. At least 11 coaches will return there from the track tonight.
There were also several thousand assembled in Melbourne to watch the action in Federation Square in Melbourne, where the race was shown on big screens at just after midnight in plummeting temperatures.
"They are a pretty resilient lot, out in the wind and rain in eight degrees," Moody said. "I am extremely proud of her and the team, I am disappointed the public here didn;t get to see how good she was."
And the 5,000 Australians that made the 10,500-mile journey have a lot to celebrate. Ever since Choisir came to win both the King’s Stand and the Golden Jubilee Stakes, as it was known in 2003, Australian horses have been a dominant force at the Royal Meeting.
Takeover Target (2006) Miss Andretti (2007) and Scenic Blast (2009) won the King's Stand Stakes but only the pathfinder had scored in the today’s race.
Takeover Target tried three times, finishing third in 2006 and second and fourth in subsequent efforts.
Star Witness went close when third to Society Rock 12 months ago.
Black Caviar becomes the first mare to win the six-furlong contest since Posada in 1988.