Black Caviar, the superstar mare crowned the world’s fastest sprinter, will take the next step towards surpassing the mighty Phar Lap’s record of consecutive wins when she runs in the $1 million Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
To date the Peter Moody-trained Black Caviar has won all 11 of her career starts.
This is the largest number of opening career victories on metropolitan tracks, but the undisputed queen of Australian racing is also closing in on another record currently held by our most popular racehorse in history, Phar Lap.
One of the greatest stayers to ever grace the turf, the Kiwi-bred and Australian-trained Phar Lap won 14 races in a row from 1930 , the same year he claimed the Melbourne Cup as the shortest ever Cups favourite, to 1931.
If Black Caviar takes out the TJ Smith Stakes on Saturday she will be just two wins away from equalling Phar Lap’s record.
Black Caviar has been installed as the pronounced $1.20 – $1.25 favourite in the early TJ Smith Stakes betting markets after she drew ideally with barrier 5 of 11 for Saturday.
Surprisingly the 2011 TJ Smith Stakes field is full of depth.
Despite the daunting task of having to take on the queen, the connections of many top horses have decided to take the challenge.
“I thought many of these horses may have dodged Black Caviar thinking she was unbeatable but it is undoubtedly a high quality field,” Sportingbet Australia CEO Michael Sullivan said.
Among Black Caviar’s rivals in the TJ Smith Stakes are resuming Gold Coast galloper Shoot Out who won the AJC Derby here 12 months ago, last year’s Golden Slipper winning filly Crystal Lily, boom sprinter Hay List and last-start winner of the Robert Sangster Stakes Response.
At her most recent start, Black Caviar strode home to score her fourth Group 1 win in the William Ride Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley.
In that race she faced just six rivals.
“Luke Nolen (jockey) has been able to keep her out of trouble in her recent outings but with a field of 11 and plenty of speed in the race, he might not have that luxury here,” said Sullivan.
“This certainly shapes as her biggest test so far this campaign with the likes of Shoot Out, Hay List, Crystal Lily, Response and Shellscrape set to really test her.”
However, prior to her William Reid win Black Caviar showed no issues in demolishing an 11-horse field in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington where she beat TJ Smith Stakes rival Crystal Lily by an easy three lengths.
Indeed, Black Caviar has run and won against all the major players in the TJ Smith Stakes field including equal $13 second favourites Hay List and Crystal Lily.
Luxbet’s leading racing bookmaker Paul Vincent mirrored this sentiment.
“Opposed to only 10 rivals, many of which she has trounced previously, this looks another benefit for her (Black Caviar),” Vincent said.
“Despite this being her first time this (the Sydney) way of going, Moody has given her ample experience on the track and it will be great for racing to see her make it 12 from 12.”
The punters think so too and haven’t hesitated to jump on Black Caviar’s short odds to become the 2011 TJ Smith Stakes winner.
Moments after betting on the TJ Smith Stakes opened, Sportingbet Australia received a $150,000 bet at $1.25.
“Punters just keep collecting every time she goes around and they are super confident of doing the same thing this weekend,” Sullivan said.
“$1.25 probably looks a big price given how she has been winning in Melbourne and punters have stepped straight in.
“I have left her at $1.25 despite the big bets as I think this might be our best chance of getting her beaten.
“She is the Sydney way for the first time, there is rain about Sydney and it is a high quality field.
“In saying that, we have taken her on every time and all with the same result so we might just be slow learners.
“At this stage it is punters 11 and bookmakers nil,” said Sullivan.
Racing fans in Sydney and punters around Australia can see for themselves whether Black Caviar can remain unbeaten on Saturday when the 2011 Darley TJ Smith Stakes runs as Randwick Race 5 at 2:20pm (AEST).