History beckons sprint wizard Black Caviar at Flemington
Champion Australian sprinter Black Caviar is starting to brush aside long-standing records as easily as she keeps brushing aside her opposition and success in tomorrow's Newmarket Handicap at Flemington will take her to a new benchmark.
The Peter Moody-trained mare is at odds of 1.25 with bookmakers, making her the hottest favourite in the 137-year history of the Group One handicap sprint, and winning her 10th race from as many starts would break a record going back to the 19th century.
No horse in Australia's racing history - which stretches back to the early 1800s - has won its first 10 starts, with the record of nine standing to the credit of 1880 Melbourne Cup winner, Grand Flaneur.
Only one female has carried more weight than her 128 pounds to win the race, and that was 105 years ago, while only the 1991 winner, the Bart Cummings-trained champion Shaftesbury Avenue, has lugged the equal of her handicap to victory in the race in the past 50 years.
Cummings, 83, who has won a record eight Newmarkets and probably trained as many champions as any trainer alive, does not have a runner tomorrow but is an unabashed fan of the mare.
'If we did have a runner, we'd be hard-pressed to beat her,' he said. 'We've had a lot of good ones but she is equal to the best we've had.'
Even main rival, Hay List, has faded as a threat, with trainer John McNair reporting his runner received chiropractic treatment earlier this week for a shoulder muscle he pulled finishing second to Black Caviar last start: 'At his absolute best, I'm sure there's not a lot between them, but she's embarrassed us the last two.'
Moody has nominated another of his runners, Hinchinbrook, as a possible danger to his great mare: 'He's a super three-year-old who ran a great placing in the Oakleigh Plate and she is going to give him eight kilos. He will be out there to knock her off if he is good enough.'