The skies in Sydney are clearing ahead of Australian Derby Day and the course proper at Royal Randwick is drying out nicely as Peter Moody’s champion mare Black Caviar continues her ability to bring with her good racing weather ahead of her shot at a 25th straight win in the $1 million Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m).
All week there’s been concerns over the conditions at Randwick, the track hitting a Heavy (8), with a substantial amount of rain falling over Sydney’s leading course for its first major race day since undergoing a huge upgrade.
The wet track has been of particular concern as Melbourne-based Moody hasn’t been hiding the fact he will scratch his stable ace Black Caviar from the 2013 TJ Smith Stakes, the last race on the bumper nine event program, should the track be any worse than a Slow (6) especially because of the late programming of the event increasing the chances of a very choppy course.
With a sellout crowd set to turn out to watch the next chapter of Black Caviar’s legend being written this weekend, the withdrawal of the wonder six-year-old would be devastating for the Australian Turf Club.
However as she has done on a number of occasions before, Black Caviar has bought with her to Sydney clear skies after arriving in New South Wales this morning.
“She’s got an amazing ability to find dry tracks,” Moody said.
“In the lead-up to this meeting two years ago the Golden Slipper was run on a bog the week before and she struck a dead track at Randwick.”
Her close win at Royal Ascot last June aside, the daughter of Bel Esprit has failed to face a field of truly worthy rivals in a long time having enjoyed easy kills in Melbourne and Adelaide over the past year.
While the jockeys there allowed her to sit and sprint to run away with her victories, it is well known that in Sydney the rivals are there to play and won’t be letting her get away with her 15th Group 1 victory that easily.
The better class of her competitors and the fact she hasn’t raced in Sydney since winning this race last year has seen Black Caviar ease out to $1.10 in the TJ Smith Stakes odds – a price she hasn’t started at in Australia in the past 12 months.
With the news of the better weather and likely suitable track however expect there to be a tickle on the queen again and her price to firm closer to equal dollars once more.
Moody is also more confident than ever she will keep her perfect record intact after she worked well at Rosehill around 4am this morning.
“I’ll dare not say she’s going better than she ever has, but she’s going every bit as good as she ever has,” Moody said.
“I’m always very respectful of opposition, I always have been, and I’ve never gone into a race thinking we’re a good thing.
“We don’t make the bookies’ prices, but facts and figures suggest not a horse on this planet that can beat her under these conditions and at this distance.
“Usually our biggest worry is misfortune, but 24 times we’ve been pretty lucky.”
Among Black Caviar’s more dangerous rivals for Saturday are The Galaxy winner Bel Sprinter ($9), Joe Pride’s classy sprinter Rain Affair ($21), injury-prone champ Hay List ($26) and triple Group 1 winning mare Sea Siren ($26).
To get behind Black Caviar next race before her TJ Smith Stakes odds come in, head over to bookmaker.com.au and bet with the best!