The SportingJournal

The legacy of Black Caviar

Like her racing career, Black Caviar’s retirement has been widely celebrated – but why should we care about an animal? Why should we care about anything to do with horse racing?

To understand this we must be able to comprehend her dominance. She won 25 races and lost none, but just how big a deal is that?
I was fortunate enough to see her run in her twenty-first race in Adelaide at the Goodwood Handicap last year and heard the same questions arising from a largely disinterested table of drinkers.

They appreciated they were there to see a famous horse, but how much did they really care or understand? 

I felt an obligation to engage at least one member of this group. Form guide in hand, I sat with this individual. I flicked through the racing book for the day, randomly selecting a horse and asked this victim if they knew what the five numbers next to each horses name represented. I went on to explain how each number or letter represented the past five races of each horse, the number being the position it had finished in each of its races and the ‘x’ representing a spell.
Each horse’s form was different, all appearing like a random cluster of numbers, more resembling a complex code. I asked this person to look at a handful of random pages and to note just how different each horses form looked. We eventually got to The Goodwood Handicap and next to Black Caviar’s name ‘11111’ was printed.

The simple nature of this collection jumped off the page, of the hundreds of horses racing in Australia that day, none had the same acknowledgement. This was merely her last five races, the extended version has twenty of these ‘1’s next to it. No other horse in the world has a form guide like that, and we were just about to see her race. Today she has 25. 
Seeing Black Caviar in the flesh you immediately comprehend the way in which she belittles her opponents. She is a giant. She is taller and heavier than most and possesses a muscular physique unbecoming of a celebrity female. Her pace is generated from the power in her legs giving her the raw acceleration to dominate competitors, while her head, core and jockey remain still. She makes it look easy.
Comparatively, other horses would zigzag across the track hysterically with heads bobbing and whips slapping, as the champion would glide away. In four years and two hemispheres, no horse has been able to run faster.
In the modern spectrum of professional sport, Black Caviar’s dominance is incomparable.

The all conquering Brisbane Lions would have had to have won another premiership on top of their three consecutive titles, yet also have won every game in each season. But even that wouldn’t be enough – Black Caviar also won every trial. Not even the modern New Zealand All-blacks have been undefeated for four years.
She isn’t the Michael Jordan of horse racing, she’s the Black Caviar of horse racing.

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  • annie

    Why would we not care. She is brilliant in her field, honest, kind, calm, and works hard at what she does. She is beautiful, and graceful and magic to watch. She is a National Treasure. What a shame she cannot play cricket!

  • Elizabeth Delaney

    Black Caviar is Equine Royalty. We have met her personally a couple of times as she has been trained with one of our horses. I love her.



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