WILLIAM REID STAKES (Group 1)
Moonee Valley, Turf, 1200m
22 March 2013
Melbourne’s Moonee Valley burst at the seams as fans flocked to bid farewell to the immortal Black Caviar and she cantered off the local stage with a typically effortless victory in the Group 1 William Reid Stakes.
The race itself amounted to little more than an exercise gallop for the seven-horse field but Black Caviar’s Melbourne swansong was always about the event rather than the race, as it has been for most of her epic 24 straight wins, which include 14 Group 1s.
The packed house crowd of 25,000 burst into wild applause as jockey Luke Nolen allowed Black Caviar to surge past stablemate Karuta Queen approaching the home turn. Salmon and white streamers burst across the public lawn moments after Black Caviar crossed the line four lengths clear; a tickertape finale to a night of celebration never before seen on a Melbourne racetrack.
Trainer Peter Moody, who paraded before the race like a rock star, said Black Caviar’s impact on sport, let alone racing, had been “second to none”. “She put on a wonderful show,” he said.
While the Black Caviar story is probably just two runs from reaching its end - one start in Sydney, another in Brisbane - Moody declared her at the peak of her powers.
“She’s going super - it’s scary how well she’s going,” he said. “Just the way she let down and quickened. What do you say. I’m lost for words.”
Nolen said his associaton with Black Caviar “has been a wonderful ride the whole time”. He added: “It’s amazing to be part of not just a wonderful racing story but a (wonderful) sporting story.” “Thank God she didn’t let anyone down tonight.”
Like Moody, Nolen said Black Caviar had never been in better shape. “She felt amazing to me,” he said, adding he gave Black Caviar a gentle tap with the whip turning for home “just to keep her balanced and happy and she took care of the rest”.
Moody said “you never say never” about Black Caviar racing again in Melbourne - a crack at a fourth straight Patinack Farm Classic in November would be the logical option, if any - but his strong sense last night was that she had run her last race in Melbourne.
Extract from The Telegraph