The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
Black Caviar may have the eyes of the world tracing her every move having captured the attention and hearts of racing fans everywhere with her impeccable career to date, but it seems there won’t be any shortage of challenges with a possible capacity field accepted to take on the queen in the BTC Cup.
Peter Moody has Black Caviar in prime condition, ready to burst out of the gates in her Brisbane debut at Doomben on Saturday and add a 13th consecutive success to her superlative racing record.
Still, there is always that small cloud of doubt in the back of the Victorian trainer’s mind, Black Caviar yet to face many of the rivals that are nominated for the $400,000 Group 1 BTC Cup (1200m).
While the Bel Esprit four-year-old has easily made a fool of every rival she has encountered to date, her winning margins as spectacular as the mare herself, Black Caviar will meet many of the Queensland ‘maroon’ contingent for the first time on Saturday.
Among the local battlers out to stop the ‘Black Flash’ in her tracks are the Robert Heathcote-trained Buffering and Gillian Heinrich’s Gold Coast champion Military Rose.
While classy General Nediym filly Military Rose, winner of the Magic Millions 2YO Classic last year, showed a stunning return to form last start taking out the Group 3 Gold Coast Guineas – it is Buffering that the Queenslander’s hold the highest hopes for.
Behind odds-on favourite Black Caviar and deserved second favourite Hay List in the early BTC Cup odds sits Mossman three-year-old Buffering.
An ultra consistent gelding and Group winner, Buffering resumed from a six month spell in excellent form on April 30 defeating Group 1 The Galaxy winner and fellow BTC Cup hopeful Atomic Force by a smart one and three quarter lengths in the Group 2 Victory Stakes (1200m) at Eagle Farm.
“He went into that run a little underdone because of a hoof problem, and he has improved a lot,” Heathcote said of Buffering in the Victory Stakes.
Buffering may be the best of the Brisbane bunch and in top form, but premier trainer Heathcote has his doubts it’s enough to bring down the queen.
“(Black Caviar) walked past me, she is so impressive,” Heathcote said.
“She has length and size, everything you wanted in a horse.
“She is just awesome.”
Watching Black Caviar at work at Eagle Farm, Heathcote then got a glimpse of his boy and let his mind wander to a truly champagne daydream.
“Then my bloke (Buffering) walked past her – wouldn’t that be good (to see him pass her) on the track,” Heathcote said.
Heathcote knows what he is up against on Saturday and would be happy for the results to fall in the order of the current odds.
“I’m hoping there are only three in it and Buffering can run a good third,” he said.
“My bloke is a talented little horse that tries his heart out but these are once-in-a-lifetime horses.
“The only way he could win is if they both (Black Caviar and Hay List) have a day off – and that’s not going to happen.
“He is already in the Stradbroke, and these races, the BTC Cup and Doomben 10,000, are the perfect lead-ups, so he has to run.
“Just that we have to run into Black Caviar and Hay List is bad luck.”
Having admitted he is running for third at best on Saturday, Heathcote wouldn’t have it any other way with the noted benefits a drawcard contender like Black Caviar has on Queensland racing far outweighing his loss of an elite level win.
“You know who she is and everyone is looking at her,” Heathcote said of Caviar.
“If you didn’t know who she was, she is the sort of horse you take a second and third look because she has an aura about her, like all the good ones.
“I live, speak and breathe racing, and I’m excited about having them up here.
“Everyone up here is talking about them, the mainstream media, channels Seven and Nine want to show racing on the news, which is a great thing.
“Next Saturday is going to be the biggest day up here for years and it is all because of Black Caviar and Hay List.
“We are just lucky to be part of it.”
Black Caviar’s trainer Moody is himself a born and bred Queenslander, and is wary of the fighting maroon spirit the likes of Buffering will bring to the BTC Cup on Saturday.
“I know Queenslanders love a challenge so if there is a little fear factor there, it’s because we could end up with a maximum field,” Moody confessed.
The largest field Caviar has defeated recently is 11, 10 challenges accepted for the TJ Smith Stakes on April 9.
With a possible 15 rivals on Saturday, including nine individual Group 1 winners, Black Caviar will face one of her toughest tests to date.
However the cards fall on Saturday for Caviar and her challengers, it will be in front of a ‘full-house’ at Doomben with the Brisbane Racing Club (BRC) reporting record sales for the BTC Cup Day.
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