Black Caviar wins the day at Royal Randwick
ONE horse, one race – and one inevitable, thrilling result. Glamour, glitz and race-day hoopla abounded at Royal Randwick’s Derby Day and, finally, it was all about a racehorse, Black Caviar.
Black Caviar, the flying Victorian mare, confirmed her status as the world’s best by winning the $1 million Group One T J Smith Stakes in spine-tingling style, sending up a deafening roar from the crowd of 25,368.
Derby Day was not about champagne and high heels. It was a truly sporting occasion.
She may be from Melbourne, but yesterday the four-year-old was Sydney’s dame, sweeping away the best sprinters Australia could muster to claim her first victory outside her home state. It was a joy to watch an incredible, beautiful champion.The grandstands fluttered with orange and black polka-dot flags in Black Caviar’s colours, and fans queued to have their picture taken near her as she waited calmly in the stalls for her race.
Racegoers, many elegantly dressed in Derby Day’s traditional theme of black and white, had flocked to the course to see her win $600,000 for her owners, a group of friends which includes Sydney property developer Neil Werrett.
With the other owners – four Melbourne families who holiday with Mr Werrett at the Victorian border town of Echuca – he bought Black Caviar as a yearling for $210,000 and put her in the hands of trainer Peter Moody, widely regarded as one of Australia’s best.
Did Moody hear the roar? “Ha – you could feel it,” he said. “I learnt my trade here at Randwick, and my initial boss was (trainer) T J Smith for three years, so this is very gratifying. To win this race is a big thrill for me.”
Carrying a weight-for-age 56.5kg, Black Caviar, ridden by Luke Nolen, was running third, out wide, for most of the race.
As the field hit the straight, it was a race in two as her only rival in this country, the topliner Hay List, sprinted away but the black flash mowed him down, winning by almost three lengths.
There was a further five lengths to Triple Honour in third and last year’s Golden Slipper winner, Crystal Lily, in fourth.
Fears that Black Caviar might struggle to race clockwise, Sydney-style, came to nothing. “Under pressure, she didn’t wobble,” Nolen said afterwards. “I just helped her, and away we went.”
Hay List’s jockey Glyn Schofield summed it up best: “I could hear her coming, then I saw her going.”
Sydney loves a celebrity, but since the retirement of champions such as Makybe Diva, Lonhro and Octagonal, punters have been without a truly unifying horse at major race days.
Royal Randwick not only had a great horse to showcase but it was also a beautiful autumn day – no clouds and temperatures nudging the high 20s
David Jones ambassadors Megan Gale and Samantha Harris led the fashion pack, dressed in Willow and Dion Lee respectively, and both in feathered headpieces by Nerida Winter.