Black Caviar’s win in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot was a close run thing. Trainer of the unbeaten Australian mare, Peter Moody, surprised many when he told the Racing Queensland awards ceremony that he almost withdrew her from the race the night before it was run.
He said he had become very protective of his superstar, and when he felt there was something not quite right about her the day before the race he rang his wife for advice. He said, “I asked if she thought I should scratch her. She said you’ve got it right 21 times before and to back my own judgement. But she said don’t blame me if you stuff it up now.”
Moody said he wasn’t sure how close he came to pulling Black Caviar out of the race, but in the end, “I convinced myself she was good enough to get the job done, and thankfully she was.”
There were two reasons Moody has said nothing about this at the time of the race. First, he said, “I didn’t want to be making excuses before the race because you look like an idiot for doing it.” Secondly, he acknowledged that the focus on the way Luke Nolen stopped riding the horse, which almost cost her a 22nd successive win, took all the post race attention.
Moody took direct responsibility for Black Caviar’s fitness, even though he was not in England to supervise her final preparations. He said, “I had to do something with her just to reassure myself of her general well being physically. Maybe I did a little bit too much, but I just wanted to make sure everything was working.”
Black Caviar hasn’t raced since Ascot, and certainly won’t to do so until next year. Moody said, “She has the next 21 days to prove she wants to keep racing. If she does, she will go out for a spell next month and come back into work in November and prepare for the autumn. I’m happy with her progress so far.”
If Black Caviar does continue to race then her targets will be a series of races in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane that she has won in the last couple of seasons. But at the moment all options are open. Moody said, “There is every chance I could still prep her up and not be happy with her and retire her in January and I'm not going to race her for the sake of it."