Chris Waller’s fillies dominate the nominations...
Black Caviar is set to make her new-season debut in this Saturday’s $200,000 Group 2 Schillaci Stakes (1000m) on Caulfield Guineas Day, and in case anyone was harbouring doubts that the sprint queen had lost any of her gleam, trainer Peter Moody has confirmed that the undefeated mare had come back bigger and better than ever.
Entering a new chapter of the incredible Black Caviar story, the exceptional Bel Esprit five-year-old will seek her 14th consecutive career triumph, equalling the ‘people’s horse’ Phar Lap, in the Schillaci Stakes 2011.
There is little doubt that the Schillaci Stakes betting price at Luxbet on Black Caviar will be in odds-on territory, but after Moody’s bullish comments leading up to the showdown, punters around the country will be taking her no matter how short she is in the markets.
“My feeling has always been that this would be her best preparation as a fully mature five-year-old,” Moody said.
“She’s always had those little niggles and there has been a few question marks in the past, but she has really grown into a big, strong mare.
“She is more mature, physically and mentally; I think she has improved.”
While Black Caviar improves with every run, Moody and his dedicated team are also learning to handle the pressure and time in the spotlight that being associated with such an honourable racehorses brings better.
“I think at her last five or six wins she’s had some sort of record attributed to her,” Moody said.
“It continues to build, but the good thing about myself and my staff is that we have learned to handle it (the pressure).”
Black Caviar had a gallop at the course proper at Caulfield over 800 metres this morning, pleasing Moody as she quickened without issue over the final two furlongs.
Yesterday the Schillaci Stakes nominations were released with just seven other horses entered for the event, a figure that is likely to be even more diminutive following tomorrow’s acceptances.
While there is a lack of any genuine challenger to Black Caviar for her first-up run, the Neville Layt-trained Kartua Queen the only other notable Schillaci Stakes nominee, the interest in the race will still be immense on Saturday.
There are a few schools of thought on the Schillaci Stakes nominations. Should Moody be running such a class mare in a Group 2 race and if Black Caviar scares away any decent rivals, what does this do to the quality of the race itself?
Another thought is that with no other drawcard entries, a Group 2 placing for no-name horses becomes a reality in the Schillaci Stakes 2011 and this is what has drawn Warwick Farm-based trainer Gary Portelli to nominate stablemates Eight Bills and Platinum Skye.
Of his Schillaci Stakes hopes, it is Intergaze mare Platinum Skye that Portelli is keenest to see a place finish from to improve the six-year-old’s value as a broodmare.
“She’ll be running for sure,” Portellie said of his former country NSW mare.
“My thinking is that Black Caviar will scare off half the field and if Platinum Skye can run second or third it gives her a Group Two placing for her as a broodmare.
“The owners are planning on going to Melbourne for the day and they are really looking forward to it for the simple fact they will have a horse racing against Black Caviar.”
Schillaci Stakes betting will open at Australia’s No. 1 online bookmaker Luxbet tomorrow following the release of the final field and barriers.
You can bet that Luxbet will be offering exclusive Black Caviar odds and special markets including her winning margin on Saturday to up the ante of the odds-on favourite.
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