While confirmed autumn plans for Peter Moody’s superstar mare Black Caviar are still up in the air, defending her title in the 2012 Newmarket Handicap at Flemington on March 10 is looking less and less likely with the undefeated queen to cop a hefty weight.
Last week Racing Victoria took nominations for the $1 million Group 1 Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) drawing 72 early entries lead by reigning champ Black Caviar.
2012 Newmarket Handicap weights aren’t due for release until February 28, however Racing Victoria handicapper Neil Jennings has come forward this week saying the seven-time Group 1 hero would be allocated a minimum 60kg.
Exactly how big a weight Jennings, who handicaps all of Victoria’s sprints, hands the mighty ‘Black Flash’ will depend on how she performs in her upcoming Group 1 targets.
Black Caviar will look to join the mighty Ajax on 18 consecutive turf triumphs next start when she goes to 1400m for the first time in the $400,000 Group 1 C.F. Orr Stakes at Caulfield on February 11.
Her likely third-up run for 2012 will then be in the $500,000 Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) back at Caulfield on Blue Diamond Stakes Day, February 25, just three days before the official Newmarket Handicap weights are announced.
“It’s safe to say she would not get any less than 60 kilograms, but I’m not going to be locked into a weight until she has her next two starts,” Jennings said.
“The weight that she is given will factor in the allowance – two kilograms – that mares are given.
“So, 60 kilograms is the equivalent of a male carrying 62 kilograms.
“It would be salivating for everyone if she did go down that path and wonderful theatre, but I have to take into account what she has done since she has won the Newmarket.”
Last Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival the superlative daughter of Bel Esprit proved her status as Australia’s greatest modern sprinter as she carried 58kg to victory in the Newmarket Handicap, defeating the ill-fated Crystal Lily by an easy three lengths.
The only mare to carry more weight to a Newmarket Handicap victory in history was Pendant who saluted with 60.5kg back in 1906.
Since her Newmarket triumph Black Caviar has gone on to win seven more races including four more Group 1 events in three separate states.
With plenty of other viable options for Black Caviar both on home soil and overseas in the coming months, Moody and connections are unlikely to risk their ace earner in the Newmarket with that kind of weight.
Earlier in the week Black Caviar’s managing co-owner Neil Werrett said that he considered 59 to 59.5 a manageable weight for the Newmarket, so Jennings’ comments will come as a blow.
“If she got 59 or 59.5 kilograms I think that could tempt Pete and us into running her,” he said.
Which horses will make up the 2012 Newmarket Handicap field will become clearer when first acceptances are taken on February 21.
Final acceptances for the famous Flemington sprint will then be taken on March 7.
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