THE national racing highlight of the past week was, of course, the return to racing by our world champion Black Caviar at Flemington last Saturday.
For the 23rd time she won, as effortlessly as we all hoped and expected, and the dream continues.
She may not be a betting proposition for any of us, but no one wants to see her lose and that fear went out the window early in the race when she exerted her dominance.
The wonderful thing from Saturday’s win for all of her fans was her setting a track record for the Flemington straight 1000m journey, which previously stood for 25 years, having been set in 1988 by the aptly-named galloper Special, despite Caviar being eased down at the end of the race.
What is amazing to all of us is that she never appears to be in full flight or overdrive in her runs and her new track record will be the most sought after record to beat, if it ever will, by every sprinter of the future.
Will it now stand for another 25 years? Only time will tell, but she has now added to her unbelievable list of achievements the only thing that was previously missing.
Let’s hope she sees out her racing days, whenever that comes to pass, well and undefeated, she deserves it. Black Caviar, we salute you!
On the local front, we’ve notched another two wins this week, and both have emerged from Chicka Pearson’s stable.
The first came at last Friday’s Goulburn meeting in the last race, a benchmark 55 event over 1200m, when Chicka’s Stake Knife, now six years old, scored his fourth, long overdue win in a hard fought two-horse battle to the line.
John Grisedale had him positioned beautifully at the turn, one out and one back, and he and Terry Robinson’s Gladiator both surged forward to fight it out up the straight. Stake Knife held on bravely to get the bob-in on the line for a dramatic half-head victory over Gladiator, with the rest of the pack fighting it out for third more than two lengths back.
I happened to be talking to Chicka the day before the race, and with some pre-race tinkering with gear in the hope of a turn around, he was confident of a win, and pleasingly for all it came to pass.
The other four Moruya runners to make the trip finished unplaced in their respective events, and both Roly Saxton and James Geppert rode at the meeting.
Chicka’s second win of the week came at the Wagga meeting on Tuesday when Flaming Star went up a notch from his previous few good lead-up races to break the Maiden status by winning the Maiden (1400m) event with Brendan Ward aboard.
Flaming Star came from well back out wide like Bernborough, when the leader, Laneva Star, almost turned left off the rails and collided with Flaming Star, stopping his momentum just before the line.
Call me one-eyed but I believed Flaming Star had the measure of the leader at that point, a view agreed to by the stewards when upholding Chicka’s protest and Flaming Star was awarded the race, justifiably.
Also at the Wagga meeting, John Marzol’s Bad Kitty returned from a spell, and with James Geppert aboard led all the way except at the post in the Benchmark 70 (1000m) sprint, when collared late by Living On A Prayer and was relegated to second.
That was a terrific first-up run after almost four months off and she’ll be a force to contend with this campaign – stick with her.
John Peiti’s Tricia Jane also ran brilliantly, well above her previous efforts, to finish second in the Class one mile.
Our city runner on Saturday was Luke Pepper’s mare, FreetoAir, who ran in the Group two Breeders’ Classic at Rosehill, but she was outclassed in that field and grade and was well back at the finish.
She still picked up a cheque for $1750 for finishing seventh, paying for the trip to Sydney for the outing.
Hopefully she will be an acceptor for the Burley Griffin Sprint at Canberra on Sunday, along with Colbey Hill’s Big Red Cat.
Luke also has Quichang in the noms for the Open mile and Zuccherina in the Jack Thomas three-year-olds race, the winner of which gets automatic entry into the Canberra Guineas, to be run in two weeks time on Black Opal day.
We have five runners at Goulburn today, including Peekay in race three, and Macks Cutie in race seven.
With no placings from his six riders at Bedgerebong Picnics last Saturday, Tim Phillips will be seeking revenge at the Condobolin Picnics tomorrow, and for the record we had no success at last Saturday’s Braidwood meeting although Roly and James both rode a winner on the six-race card.
Until next week, good luck and good punting.