Rob Heathcote’s special little filly Startantes...
Connections of the world’s highest-rated horse, Black Caviar, have confirmed this week that the brilliant mare will head overseas to target the 2012 Royal Ascot Carnival in England.
Currently enjoying a well-deserved break following her stunning autumn – winter campaign that included five elite level wins, Black Caviar has amassed over $3.4 million in prize money to date, the superlative sprinter surpassing a number of records in winning her opening 13 starts in succession to date.
Trainer Peter Moody will speak to Black Caviar’s syndicate of owners to confirm whether the rising five-year-old will aim for either the Group 1 Golden Jubilee Stakes (1207m) or the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes over the mile in June next year at Royal Ascot.
The announcement of Black Caviar’s Royal Ascot campaign confirmation was made by Moody’s stable spokesman Jeff O’Connor at a press conference in Newmarket on Thursday where he had been invited to discuss the wonder mare’s stablemate and current Ascot campaigner Hinchinbrook.
“The plan is to run Black Caviar at Royal Ascot next year – Peter asked me to mention that,” O’Connor said.
“Everyone in the Black Caviar camp is all for being here next year.
“As far as her lead-up campaign is concerned, we will get together next month to finalise that.
“The question is whether we go overseas with her before Royal Ascot.
“We want her to try and get some world-class prestige.”
Before heading off overseas, Black Caviar will give the fans in Australia the chance to back her during the spring with the champion set to contest at least one race during the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
Victorian-based horseman Moody is represented at this year’s Royal Ascot races by his smart Fastnet Rock colt Hinchinbrook.
Having run second to boom galloper Hay List in the Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) last start on April 23 at Randwick, Hinchinbrook preparing to contest this year’s Golden Jubilee Stakes on June 18 against fellow Australian-trained colt Star Witness.
The Danny O’Brien-trained dual Group 1 winner Star Witness is the early $5 favourite to take out the Golden Jubilee Stakes, while Hinchinbrook is rated a $12 chance.
Moody was reportedly happy with the fitness and form of Hinchinbrook after the horse was given a workout on the Bury Hill at Newmarket earlier in the week.
“Hinchinbrook has been running well behind exceptional sprinters,” O’Connor said.
“It is very hard to win a big Group One sprint at home at the moment because of the two stars, Black Caviar and Hay List.
“Hinchinbrook is probably our (Australia’s) best colt – Black Caviar is a mare and Hay List is a gelding.
“I think he is terrific value at 12 / 1 as he is in good form.”
Regular rider of Black Caviar, the talented Luke Nolen, will take the mount on Hinchinbrook for his Royal Ascot start.
Nolen will be looking to regain his international form that saw him ride a winner during last year’s Shergar Cup at Ascot.
Prior to the Golden Jubilee, Star Witness is engaged to race in the opening leg of this season’s Global Sprint Challenge, the Group 1 King’s Stands Stakes (1006m) at Royal Ascot next week.
The early favourite to defeat a truly top-class international field of rivals, Star Witness was disappointing in his most recent run back home when eight lengths away seventh to Black Caviar in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) on March 12 at Flemington.
O’Brien, however, is bullish over his chances in the King’s Stands stating Star Witness was back to his best and ready to race.
“It’s difficult to align but he has very similar form lines to the horses that have done well coming from Australia in the past,” O’Brien said.
“He’s a very good straight-course horse and we’ve had Ascot in mind for him since he won a stakes race at two.
“If he turns up as well as he was during Melbourne Cup week he’ll be hard to beat.
“His two runs in the autumn were not ideal, but he had an excuse in the second of them when alive episode of Top Gear was being filmed on the Royal Showgrounds next to Flemington.
“It was brutally loud all day, like being at a Grand Prix but we feel he’s back to his best.
“He was very impressive in a barrier trial just before he left home.”
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