Black Caviar, probably the greatest thoroughbred of my generation, has been retired by its owners today. Whilst this is a sad day for many sports fans, to me this is an opportunity to celebrate the career of this colossus of the track and to reflect on what many of us have been privileged to see either on track or on the television.
Some statistics: Black Caviar was unbeaten in 25 races including 15 group one races. The horse won just short of $8 Million in prize money having raced exclusively in Australia and England. She is considered to be the best sprinter in the world, having been named WTRR World Champion Sprinter in 2010 and having been rated one of the top thoroughbred racehorses in the world by Timeform.
However statistics only tell part of the story: like no other horse in my lifetime Black Caviar drew hordes of racing novices including children of all ages to the race tracks of Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and Queensland so much so I am certain that the racing clubs of each of the states threw mountains of cash and benefits to the owners and trainer to get the horse to their race track. Water Cooler talk on the Monday following a Black Caviar race was all about this brilliant race horse. Sales of salmon coloured fabric have sky rocketed by those trying to match her silks.
I have been a racing fan since I was about 10 years old when my grandfather Colin introduced me to this noble sport and it a great regret to me that he is no longer with us and was not around to watch this wonderful horse. I have confess I have seen horses win one race as well as Black Caviar but I have never seen a horse as consistently just decimate fields they way this horse did.
Much like P Moody did in the press conference today, I now await the publication of the DVD of all of Black Caviar’s wins so I can just watch them over and over again because I am fairly certain we will wait a long time to see a horse as good as her. The best way to celebrate this wonder of the turf is to remember her achievements and protect her legacy. I am certain fans from the racing world and those novices introduced to the track by her will do just that.
Thanks for the memories Black Caviar: it has been an absolute honour!