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Black Caviar makes it 22 out of 22…just!

23 Jun 2012

The queen of Australian racing won the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot this afternoon to extend her brilliant, unbeaten career to 22 victories, but it was not quite in the manner that everyone had expected.

Black Caviar (salmon pink with black spots) just gets home from Moonlight Cloud (white) and Restiadargent (yellow), with Society Rock a never nearer fifth behind them. Image courtesy of racingfotos.com.

Black Caviar, the second best horse in the world on ratings, followed in the footsteps of the best, Frankel, by winning at this year’s Royal Meeting.

It was very different to Frankel’s electrifying 11 length victory in Tuesday’s St James’s Palace Stakes, however, with the mare making it 22 victories out of 22 by just a head and a neck from French challengers Moonlight Cloud and Restiadargent in this afternoon’s Diamond Jubilee Stakes.

Black Caviar, who started the 1-6 favourite, was always going well close to the pace and took it up over a furlong from home.

Luke Nolen, on board the Australian legend, appeared to have everything under control as he looked to get home without asking anything more than necessary from the mare.

He tried coast home in the final run to the winning line and almost got caught out when the French pair lunged late on the stands side.

Nolen had to get very animated in the final strides when he sensed the challenge coming fast and late and he just held on, much to the relief of the huge Australian contingent that had flown in to support the mare.

With the proximity of so many lower-rated sprinters, Black Caviar clearly ran well below her best, but she throughoughly vindicated the very brave decision of her owners and trainer to bring her to Royal Ascot.

The ex-Australian sprinter, Soul, was fourth, three-quarters of a length behind the French pair, with Society Rock, last year’s winner, close behind in a very unlucky fifth after completely missing the break.

Accepting responsibility for the tight finish, Nolen said: "I underestimated the testing track of Ascot. She’d had enough and that big engine throttled right down.

"It’s unfortunate, because we’re going to talk more about my brain failure than the horse’s fantastic effort.

"I thought she’d done enough to win and I was just trying to look after her.

"We won, but it may have overshadowed what was a fantastic effort by the horse. We got away with it."

Winning trainer Peter Moody said: "You’ve only got to win by a quarter of an inch. 

"I was concerned at halfway that she wasn’t tavelling like she usually does, but we got the job done.

"We never expect dominance – we never ask her for dominance – we are extremely proud of her. I’m an extremely proud Aussie.

"It’s very fitting that we’ve done it with a horse like this."

The mare will now go straight into quarantine, which will last 28 days, before returning to Australia to be prepared for the spring carnival at Melbourne.

Moonlight Cloud and Restiadargent both ran fantastic races and are likely to run next on home soil in the Prix Maurice De Gheest at Deauville in August.