Jockey Luke Nolen has declared he “holds no fears” that his ace mount Black Caviar will remain undefeated after her Brisbane debut on Saturday when reunited with the superstar sprinter for a dawn workout at Doomben yesterday.
Nolen, who has been aboard Black Caviar for nine of her 12 career victories, is confident he will be celebrating her baker’s dozen in Saturday’s $400,000 Group 1 BTC Cup (1200m).
Anticipation is building in Brisbane as an expected 20,000 Queensland racing fans prepare to flood into Doomben to get a glimpse of racing royalty and to be able to say “I was there” when the mighty mare becomes a six time Group 1 winner.
The daughter of Bel Esprit arrived in the sunshine state last week and yesterday was her second look at the Doomben track having also performed in a ‘media’ gallop last Saturday.
Now acquainted with the course proper at Doomben, Black Caviar yesterday was put through her paces by Nolen in front of a small group that did not include trainer Peter Moody.
Although only a diminutive contingent gathered to view Black Caviar’s early morning workout yesterday, the atmosphere was still befitting of the celebrity status the world’s fastest sprinter has obtained.
“It was a little bit of Hollywood I suppose,” said Nolen.
“There were people taking photos of her and others just wanting to watch her gallop.
“They certainly know who she is and I think we’ll see some Black Caviar fever on Saturday as they’ll turn out to see her in full flight.”
Yesterday was the most work asked of the headline runner of the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival since her arrival in Queensland.
Nolen took Caviar for a trot right up the Doomben straight before turning her around to return to the winning post, a post she is tipped to cross first by a tidy margin in the BTC Cup.
Those at the track confirmed that the mare hit the line strongly after Nolen allowed Black Caviar to quicken over the final 400m of her hit-out.
“We went over half a mile (800 metres) and came home over the last couple (of furlongs / 400 metres) and she’s sharp both physically and mentally,” Nolen said.
“The markers were out a long way but she was on the right leg throughout and she felt great dashing home the last bit.”
It seems hoop and horse share a similar calm demeanour despite the pressure on both to perform for the people and the punters this weekend.
Nolen admitted that he felt more anxious in the low-key track gallops like yesterday than he did come race day as the composed character of Black Caviar rubbed off on him.
“The only time I get nervous is when I gallop her in trackwork, I just hope I don’t stuff up,” Nolen said.
“On race day she makes it easy for me…you will see her in the yard on Saturday.
“When she parades she just walks around and gets further and further away from the horse in front of her.
“She just has the most relaxed demeanour I have seen.”
The work at Doomben was enough to give Nolen the confidence he needed to declare Black Caviar all but unbeatable on Saturday.
“Doomben holds no fears,” he said.
Moody had given the instruction for Nolen to give Black Caviar a quick bit of work yesterday as a final guarantee she was ready to make history.
“Pete has seen plenty of her but just wanted to know where I thought she was at and I was happy to tell him that she was perfect.
“Sharp and bright.”
It is Black Caviar’s customary ease of character that in part contributes to her superlative success.
While many of her rivals become high-strung come jump time, Black Caviar is a thoroughbred of collective coolness whom saves every ounce of her incredible energy until needed.
Moody has regularly commented on this attribute, saying Black Caviar is one of most unperturbed horses he has ever had the pleasure to train.
“She’s got that relaxed, laid back mannerism about her,” Moody said after the mare scored her fifth elite level win in the TJ Smith Stakes at Randwick last start.
“She could probably run any trip you want.”
Odds are that Moody will be putting his money where his mouth is in a fortnight’s time, with Black Caviar set to race over 1350m for the first time in the $650,000 Group 1 Doomben 10,000.
But first, the BTC Cup.