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Black Caviar grows in stature

Black Caviar wins Royal Ascot Source: Facebook

Sometimes the immediacy with which we receive and process news can betray even the most incredible of achievements.

Within minutes of Black Caviar’s 22nd win on Sunday, opinion was flowing thick and fast online, and it wasn’t glowing.

General consensus suggested jockey Luke Nolen had almost bottled the biggest race of his career, an idea that only gathered momentum after his demure post race interview.

Reading tweets and watching Nolen face the camera, you’d be forgiven for thinking the champion mare had lost the race.

She didn’t win in the way we wanted her to, and sadly, that’s where the focus was in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Some of us wanted to see her streak away from the pack to win by four lengths. Some of us wanted to see her charge from behind. Most wanted to see the normally conservative Nolen give her a bit, and show us what she could really do. Overwhelmingly, we all wanted a flawless race. We didn’t get that. We got something better.

We got a win, funnily enough, against the odds.

She was injured and hurting on a wet track, racing in completely foreign conditions.

Nolen dropped his hands, but she didn’t drop her head. Black Caviar has more natural instinct than any horse of the modern era, perhaps more than any horse in history.

Yet so much of the initial press (especially in England) focussed on how Nolen almost lost it, not how Nelly won it.

It’s only in days after Royal Ascot that we’re starting to realise what an incredible race she ran.

It was a different kind of achievement; one where no one was aware of just how special it was until days after. It might still take weeks, or months or years for it to really hit.

As time passes, our initial reaction that she was lucky to win will give way completely to an even bigger sense of pride. Our girl got it done with her back against the wall.

Royal Ascot proved that she’s not just elegant, she’s tough. She can glide like a ballet dancer and she can brawl like a boxer.

Black Caviar’s win wasn’t a victory lap in the form of a 1200 metre straight – it was more than that.

The way in which she won did more for her legacy, and her fairytale, than an easy victory ever could have.

Two muscle tears, severe bruising and a questionable ride from her jockey would add up to disaster for any other horse.

But Black Caviar, if you’ll excuse the pun, took it all in her stride.

She won when she probably shouldn’t have.

That’s the greatest kind of grace.


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