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An incomparable turf champion retires
Mike Hedge
07:03 AEST Thu Apr 18 2013

In a sport in which lily-gilding can be a compulsion, Black Caviar stands so impressively no embellishment is required.

Good parentage, good looks, a massive heart, an unrivalled will-to-win and a talent that made her unbeatable.

And a trainer and owners who on Wednesday did exactly the right thing.

In a whimsical, roundabout way, Neil Werrett, the man who brought Black Caviar's owners together, announced his horse had run its last race.

"Our lovely horse, our wonderful horse, as you can see, has never looked better. She's even had her nails painted," Werrett said.

"... today we want to announce she is retiring."

And then he choked on a tear, leaving Moody to tell the last few lines of one of those stories that racing does so well.

Black Caviar is a horse that cost a bit of money - $210,000.

Moody bid for her on spec at the Melbourne sales in 2007 and later got Werrett interested.

Werrett in turn invited some friends for a weekend on a houseboat on the Murray where they split the horse into nine bits.

As Black Caviar became the greatest horse to race in Australia in almost a century, Werrett never flinched from his belief that sharing her, and the $8 million she won, was the only way he would have wanted it.

"We've had a lot of lunches together and I'm glad we're all still together today as better friends than when we started out," he said.

Even the decision to retire the world's best sprinter while she is at the peak of her powers was a unanimous one.

Werrett said the owners and Moody had been grappling with the retirement question since Black Caviar returned, injured from Royal Ascot last June.

But it is the way of horses like Black Caviar that they overcome.

From scrambling over the line at Ascot to knocking over a field last weekend that bragged it was the best she'd ever met, Black Caviar did what she done 24 times previously. She ran faster for longer than any of her opposition and made good horses fall apart.

Black Caviar retires from racing as the most highly-ranked sprinter the world has ever known, as Australia's most prolific winner of Group One races and the holder of the country's longest unbeaten sequence.

Early next spring she will visit a carefully-selected stallion, an encounter over which Moody has concerns.

"She might need someone to hold her hand when she gets bitten on the back of the neck for the first time," he said.

Eleven months later Black Caviar will produce a foal that won't be sold but will be raced by her owners.

And, they hope, the story will start again.


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