How we let Black Caviar into our family. And we don’t want to let her go.

April 18, 2013

The tears have dried up now. We’ve composed ourselves, knowing the journey has come to an end.

And what a journey it was. Twenty-five starts. Twenty-five wins.

I remember Steve Hewlett on 4TAB giving her a wrap after her second or third win. Said she might be something special.

Now, we say that lots in racing. Usually, for anything that salutes, when we’re on board. Overcome some trouble, and you can make that extra-special.

But Steve was spot on. This mare with the giant arse named Black Caviar, would dazzle us. Time and again.

For a while, it was just racing folk following her progress. She would lose, eventually. They all get beaten. Phar Lap, Tulloch, Kingston Town. All of them.

But not Nelly. She kept winning. Soon, other sports followers got involved. Then the general public. Those who would rather read the classifieds than the form guide.

Kids started wearing her colours to the races. Mums made flags. Dads had dollar bets and kept the tickets.

They did tv specials on her. Books and magazine articles. She found time between trackwork sessions to set up her own Facebook and Twitter accounts.

They took her overseas, and she won in front of the Queen. Just. When the narks wanted to write her off, she came back and went even faster.

Win number 25 was at Randwick. It was breathtaking. The victory we’ll never forget.

Now it’s over. The most magnificent of careers, finished. She’s off to the breeding barn. How do you think the first stallion will feel on the big day? He’ll be texting his mates all morning.

We all get to keep our special memories of the Mighty Mare. I have two that stand out.

The Teenager and I sat up late, the night Black Caviar raced at Royal Ascot. I loved that she got caught up in the excitement of it all.

The two of us were joined by an entire racing industry on Twitter. We cheered, and gasped, and then cheered again. It felt like we were all in the same lounge room at midnight.

The other unforgettable moment, was when she raced at Doomben. I wrote that night that when she hit the front, it sounded like the grandstand roof had lifted off. I’ve never heard a roar like it, at any other sporting event. Even now, recalling it, I get chills.

Anyone who has watched her anywhere, had that same feeling. How lucky we are.

There will be other champions. We’ll dress up in someone else’s colours one day down the track.

But there won’t be another Black Caviar. A once-in-a-lifetime champion.

We owe Peter Moody and her owners so much. They shared her, when they could have kept her locked up at Caulfield. They gave of their time, and promoted the sport they love at every turn.

I’ve written more about the Mighty Mare on these pages than any other subject, outside of my much-loved girls. They’re lucky the horse has given it away. She was catching up.

Thanks for the memories, BC. Good luck having babies. We’ll never forget you. And if you find the time, can you let us know which of your youngsters runs the fastest? A Twitter post will do just fine.

Million dollar baby. The trouble with famous parents and tight genes.

August 20, 2011

The midwives would have been lining up for autographs. Mum was a freak. Dad one of the best ever.

Baby was a bouncing 52 kilos. Heavier than some of the jockeys who’ll end up riding him.

Can you imagine how jealous the other youngsters at trackwork will be, when he lets on who his parents are?

They booked the Royal suite the night Lonhro put his best moves on Makybe Diva. What a match up.

They were two of the very best. Champions. And big shoes for junior to fill.

A confession here. I’m no breeding expert. I’ll back the progeny of my favourite sires, but that’s about it. I can tell you more about Mister Ed than Seattle Slew. Actually, Mister Ed could tell you himself. How did he do that?

Anyway, back to the Golden One. This is something special. A match the gurus are salivating over.

I enjoy it when dreamers fork out a million for a young horse at the sales. You have to admire their courage, and the thickness of their wallet.

It’s the ultimate gamble. No guarantees in this business. The size of the prize tag doesn’t mean you have yourself a winner.

So much can go wrong. Sometimes they don’t even make it to the track. Imagine trying to explain that to the missus.

John Singleton is one of the great breeding dreamers. Every match is carefully thought out.

He once showed me a strapping youngster at the Gold Coast sales. Bred from his beloved mare Sally Magic.

She’d run second in the 1999 Magic Millions two-year old classic. Beaten by the hulking Testa Rossa. Singo hates running second.

He decided the best way to win his own race, was to play matchmaker. With the placegetters. So Testa and Sally became more than good friends.

In Singo speak, this compared to getting Ian Thorpe and Giann Mooney together, so they could produce our next Olympic flyer. As convincing as he sounded, I’m pretty sure that never happened.

Anyway, the racing union produced the well performed galloper Publishing. He won a couple. But not the one Singo wanted.

And that’s the problem at the top end of the breeding business. As foolproof as a plan might be, it doesn’t always work.

Cheapies and no-names can still win. Even in our biggest races. Australians love that. We can buy a share with our mates, and dream. All without breaking the bank.

You and I won’t own the Lonhro-Makybe Diva colt. That’s ok. He has a long way to go. And there are plenty of others to go around.

He might be a champion. Or a dud. Time will tell. But can he talk? Now that would be worth a million.