ASCOT’S red carpet is being rolled out for the arrival on Thursday (British time) of Australia’s most famous horse since Phar Lap.

The LONDON DAILY TELEGRAPH tells racing fans to standby for the Black Caviar Show to hit British racing in the build up to Europe’s most glittering racing festival.

JIM McGRATH reports that the Royal meeting has been such a resounding success in attracting the best horses internationally that it has grown to become Britain’s answer to the Breeders’ Cup – and it takes place over five days.

No wonder it is the envy of the racing world, and the unbeaten Black Caviar is set to play a starring role this year.

Inevitably, there have been anxious moments leading up to Black Caviar’s departure – she leaves Australia on Wednesday and will be stabled in Newmarket on arrival – and trainer Peter Moody is on record as saying he is “a bit nervous about it all”.

But what sensible trainer wouldn’t be? Moody has in his charge the biggest equine star in Australia since the legendary Phar Lap, the 1930 Melbourne Cup winner, whose career ended in tragedy when he died in California not long after winning a race at Agua Caliente in Tijuana, just over the Mexican border.

Not that Moody, nor Black Caviar’s six owners, should have any concerns on that point, though they will be fully aware that the unbeaten mare’s incredible record of 21 wins is at stake when she lines up on foreign soil in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes on June 23.

Being a true equine champion brings with it the usual baggage of saturation media coverage, which often leads to the type of speculative story that appeared on Monday in The Australian, which warned: “Doubts persist over Black Caviar trip.”

Nick Smith, Ascot’s head of communications and international racing, denied there had been any last-minute change of plans. “I don’t think there is any question of the Black Caviar team getting cold feet. I’d say they are nervous because this is a big step, and they are aware of everything that goes with it.

“But any report that says they are not coming is just complete drivel,” Smith said. “I have just received back from connections Black Caviar’s travel contract, which is an agreement covering her travel allowance.

"The shipping and the stabling at Newmarket are booked, and one of the owners, Neal Werrett, came down to Ascot last Thursday to meet Chris Stickels [clerk of the course] and others in the office.”

Smith said that international visitors were all given the opportunity to gallop once on Ascot racecourse prior to the meeting. This facility will be offered to Moody, though the serious part of the mare’s final preparation will take place at Newmarket.

Black Caviar is a best-priced 1-2 to win the Diamond Jubilee, while the nearest to her in betting is Bated Breath, at 8-1.



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