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Caviar still has much to offer
Simon O'Donnell
13:30 AEST Mon Jun 25 2012

Simon O'Donnell is a Nine Network sports commentator who played AFL and cricket at the highest level. He also has interests in some of the country's top racehorses and has come agonisingly close to winning the Melbourne Cup.
Simon O'Donnell
First thing's first, a win is a win. There's was undoubtedly an expectation that Black Caviar would romp home in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot, but fairytales rarely come true and we're all still lucky enough to be celebrating her latest triumph.

Being involved intimately with horse racing for many years now, I know how hard it is to win by the smallest margin, let alone a great distance.

That said, my first reaction after the race was that there must be something wrong. Black Caviar should have belted her rivals and if she was at her best and running down the straight at Flemington, she would have done just that.

With the benefit of hindsight, three things pointed to something being wrong.

The first was the time she ran, the second was her mannerisms and the third was the way she slowed, so quickly.

Luke Nolen has been riding the champion for a long time and he was as surprised as anyone about the way the race ended. As soon as he released her, she probably slowed from 63kmh to 50kmh in a matter of two strides.

Luke has copped plenty about his ride – and has probably been his own hardest critic – but that simply isn’t the Black Caviar he knows.

So what now? If I owned Black Caviar and she was physically capable of getting over the wear and tear of this trip, I’d race on.

Apart from the history books that she is re-writing, in pure economic terms, she could add another $4million to her earnings.

Compared to entires and geldings, mares are finicky and their form can drop off quite quickly, so if Peter Mody can get Black Caviar back to her best, I’d be inclined to keep her going.

The only risk associated with that decision is that you never quite know how a horse is going, until it actually runs. Let’s hope that this one can continue to deliver.


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