Caviar stretches out in bid for No 18
Australia's unbeaten wonder mare Black Caviar takes her first strides beyond 1,200m in tomorrow's CF Orr Stakes at Caulfield (1,400m), but her connections, bookmakers and even rival jockeys have no doubts she will extend her winning sequence to 18 and confirm her much-anticipated trip to Royal Ascot later in the year.
The field for the Group One will be led out by former Hong Kong champion Silent Witness, who now resides at a farm in Victoria, and whose record unbeaten run of 17 wins to start his career will be passed if, as expected, Black Caviar is victorious.
Silent Witness was finally beaten when attempting to run 1,600m for the first time, but Peter Moody's imposing sprinter is rated a $1.04 chance by bookmakers and her trainer claims she will be even better over longer journeys.
'I've always felt she'd be just as explosive, if not more so, out to 1,400 metres and I've suggested even possibly a mile [1,600m], so this is a step in that direction on Saturday,' Moody said.
'I want to see her strong at the end of 1,400 metres to give me a positive to going to the solid 1,200s in England on those undulating tracks.'
The Golden Jubilee Stakes (1,200m) at Royal Ascot in June is Black Caviar's main target this preparation, with a stopover in Dubai to contest the Golden Shaheen Stakes (1,200m) in March an option.
Moody will make a reconnaissance mission to Dubai in late February to check Meydan's Tapeta track, but first has pencilled this run and another Group One over 1,400m before heading overseas.
Craig Williams rides the horse rated the best chance of upsetting Black Caviar tomorrow, Caulfield Cup winner Southern Speed, and he joked beating the popular horse would be like 'killing Bambi'.
'That's for sure, but that would be racing, I would be delighted to do it. But you've got to have the horse to do it,' he said. 'I'll be out there doing my best, as every other jockey will be, to beat Black Caviar, but you've got to be realistic, she's pretty awesome, isn't she?'