The inevitability of champion mare Black Caviar securing her 14th consecutive turf triumph in tomorrow’s $200,000 Group 2 Schillaci Stakes (1000m) has been further assured with one of her brave rivals withdrawing from the clash.
Warwick Farm-based trainer Gary Portelli has made the decision to scratch his six-year-old Octagonal gelding Eight Bills from the 2011 Schillaci Stakes field, leaving Peter Moody’s superlative sprinter to face just seven rivals on Caulfield Guineas Day.
Australian Horse of the Year Black Caviar is the overwhelming favourite in the Caulfield Race 4 odds at Luxbet paying a short $1.06 to win her second successive Schillaci Stakes and sit equal in the history books with the mighty Phar Lap who scored 14-straight metro wins between September 13, 1930 and March 4, 1931.
Eight Bills, who was drawn in the far outside Schillaci Stakes barrier (9), was a $151 roughie in the Schillaci Stakes betting at Luxbet.
Portelli will still take on the ‘Black Flash’ with his former bush mare Platinum Skye racing in the Schillaci Stakes, drawn in barrier seven and rated a $101 roughie.
The sprinter who is being tipped to finish second to Black Caviar in the Schillaci Stakes 2011 Quinella tomorrow is the Neville Layt-trained Karuta Queen.
Despite having drawn awkwardly in gate eight for the Schillaci, three-year-old Not A Single Doubt filly Karuta Queen sits as the $13 second-elect in the Schillaci Stakes markets at Luxbet.
Coming off a commanding two and a half length victory in the Listed Heritage Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill on September 17, connections are happy for Karuta Queen to just be able to run beside the Australian racing public’s queen Black Caviar.
“It’s a feather in her cap just to be running against Black Caviar,” Layt said.
One thing firmly in Karuta Queen’s favour on Saturday is that under the weight-for-age conditions of the Schillaci Stakes the $1.59 million earner will carry just 51kg with Tommy Berry in the mount.
This is a nice drop back from the 54kg Karuta Queen carried to victory last-start and has her meeting her rivals, including Black Caviar, a minimum 5.5kg better in the weights.
“It would have been nice to have drawn closer to the fence, but Platinum Skye (barrier seven) will go quick and she’ll tack on to her or lead her,” Layt said.
“If she can run second I’d be very proud.”
While there looks to be little stopping Black Caviar from becoming the 2011 Schillaci Stakes winner and move closer to the Australasia record of 19 consecutive metro wins co-held by Desert Gold and Gloaming, Moody knows that anything is possible in the world of racing.
“You’d think on what the opposition has done to this point they would struggle to trouble her,” he said.
“But I’ve been in this industry too long to know that there is no such thing as a good thing.”
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