Black Caviar Wins the Diamond Jubilee Stakes - Just!
1 Black Caviar 1/6 Fav
Australia’s great Black Caviar completed her twenty-second straight victory when winning the Diamond Jubilee Stakes today, but she was very much below her best.
It was a remarkable finish, however, as regular jockey Luke Nolen, who had looked in supreme control from the outset, appeared to ease down his mount close to the line. The 1-6 favourite still held on for a famous victory after a short wait for the photo-finish.
Trainer Peter Moody hinted that it was possible she had run her last race after she held on for a head and a neck victory over France’s Moonlight Cloud and Restiadargent. Moody said the mare appeared jaded, and if she does not show sparkle after returning home she could be retired.
Black Caviar’s jockey, Luke Nolen, stopped pushing the mare near the post, but as she began to falter he galvanised her one more time.
Moody said: “I believe she was probably out on her feet a furlong and a half out. She never travelled as keenly and strongly as she does at home and I had concerns half a mile out. Only her grit and ability got her home - Luke was trying to look after her, and while he nearly got caught short he got the job done.
“She just didn’t travel like she can, she didn’t have her ears pricked - I thought she was always in control of the race, but she wasn’t up on the bridle. You’ve seen her race at her lowest ebb - fortunately she got the job done - but that was the lowest ebb for ten or 12 starts. She just didn’t show the zip, and post-race she’s out on her feet so she’s done a tremendous job.
Jockey Luke Nolen believed that British racegoers did not see the true Black Caviar.
“She wasn’t the same horse she usually is today,” said Nolen. “Her determination got her there.
“It’s a testing track and I maybe underestimated how gruelling the six furlongs is here. I didn’t have as much experience as other riders here and just let her coast. It was an error every apprentice is taught not to do but I got away with it today. She was still tough enough to win for us. When I was three-quarters of a length clear I thought I had done enough to win, I wasn’t easing, I just let her coast down and I’m lucky I came out of it at the better end.
“I just let her idle at the finish and maybe the big engine just shut itself down. I duly shit myself but she’s got a big neck but she doesn’t know how to get beat. When I relaxed on her she came back beneath me. I thought I’d done enough but I was pretty glad when I heard the crowd cheer.
Black Caviar’s owners came to Royal Ascot in force - with family and friends - and they head home sharing even deeper affection for their wonderful mare Black Caviar.
Pam Hawkes, who came up with the mare’s name and was the first to receive the winner’s trophy from The Queen, said: “A win is a win, and we’re not disappointed with the margin of victory.
“It was a surprise how close it was, and it must have been a surprise to the jockey, but I hope he’s not feeling bad about it. We don’t care about the margin and if she had been beaten we would have accepted it.
“We came to Royal Ascot prepared to lose and we’re going home winners. It’s never been about margins, it’s been about the mare.
“This has been like the grand final - she’s taken us on a marvellous journey. We have met The Queen twice in one day, and apart from the Duke of Edinburgh there cannot be many people who can say that. We’ve had a great day and it’s been very emotional.
“We’ve been prepared for the last run for the last 11 races, but she’s continued to do us proud and we can’t ask more of a horse.
Black Caviar's part-owner, Gary Wilkie, insists talk of her retirement is premature, telling the Herald Sun: "You never make decisions on race day. We have three months to decide whether to keep racing her or if she is retired to stud."
He added: "Peter is so meticulous with his planning and preparation, we leave all those decisions up to him. He will only do what is right for Black Caviar."
BLACK CAVIAR HAS PERFORMED AT LEAST 10LB BELOW HER BEST SAYS PHIL SMITH
Diamond Jubilee Stakes
MOONLIGHT CLOUD NEARLY CAUSES UPSET
RESTIADARGENT TAKES THE BROINZE
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