Australian sprint queen Black Caviar touched down at Heathrow airport, London, just before 5pm on Thursday after a 30-hour journey that began her Caulfield stable in Melbourne, Victoria. After stops in Singapore and Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, Black Caviar landed wearing her specially-designed Lycra compression suit designed to promote blood-flow and muscle recovery. No matter how great the horse is the biggest hurdle for any horse going to England from Australia or the other way round is the sheer distance and the trip, which takes more than 24 hours if done in one hit. The trip had to be split.
From there she was loaded onto a horse box and transported by road to Abington Place Stables in Newmarket, where so many international runners have stayed while preparing for races in Britain. She is due to run in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot on Saturday 23rd June 2012.
With victory a foregone conclusion in the eyes of many, the debate has already turned to how comprehensive Black Caviar's win will be, and Coral make the unbeaten mare a 6-1 chance to win the Diamond Jubilee by five lengths or more. "Having arrived safely on these shores, Black Caviar looks set to blow the opposition away on her first start outside of Australia when she lines up in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes," said Coral's David Stevens. He continued: "Sprinters from down under have proved their worth here in recent years, but Black Caviar brings with her form that is far superior to the likes of Choisir, Takeover Target, Miss Andretti and Scenic Blast. As far as we're concerned it's not if she wins, but a question of how far she wins by."
A little bit of bluster there and we will see, our understanding of horseracing is there is no such thing as a certainty…
Trainer Peter Moody was a little more sensile. After three weeks of fine-tuning following her 21st win, in the Goodwood Stakes in Adelaide, Peter Moody says Black Caviar is in peak condition for the trip. He continued: ''She paraded the fittest she has ever been in her life. I've purposely done that because I do not want to have to work her hard before the race and I want her ready to go in peak condition when she arrives. The furthest she has been in her life is Brisbane, but that trip was by road in two 12-hour parts and we had the luxury of stopping and exercising her for 10 hours in between trips. She will be stuck in a box for 30 hours this time, so that's still a bit of an unknown. But 12 months ago she could get quite uptight in a situation like this morning, but now you all saw that she is quite relaxed and calm. She wandered about with her head on her chest."
There is a sense of unfinished business for Moody ahead of this Royal Ascot campaign. He has previously visited Ascot on three occasions, twice with Magnus, who ran third in the King's Stand Stakes in 2007, and again last year with Hinchinbrook, who failed to run at the meeting after suffering a setback on race eve.
Although he admits it is reassuring to know that this year he returns with a champion, Moody refused to underestimate the local competition in Europe, despite reports that some rivals are likely to dodge Black Caviar. Bated Breath, the second favourite for the Diamond Jubilee Stakes, is likely to run in the King's Stand Stakes earlier in the Royal meeting. Connections of third favourite Sole Power have already made public their preference for the King's Stand over a seemingly impossible battle with the world's best sprinter. Moody said: "Whenever you take horses away from home the hardest horses to beat are always the locals. I've been there and have been beaten, and it's a bloody long drive home when you've been beaten."
This is her last run in Australia before coming to Royal Ascot: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eXcu09SjYss