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Racing’s modern-day Phar Lap

Some say Black Caviar is the best horse the world has seen since Phar Lap in the 1930s. Ben Asgari pays tribute to the great mare and previews her chances of making it 13 wins from 13 starts in the BTC Cup on Saturday.

Officially rated the best racehorse in the world, Black Caviar is a once in a lifetime sprinting machine that mere words cannot do justice to.

In emphasising the great mare’s complete and utter dominance, it is worth considering the closest her rivals have ever got to her in 12 starts. It was just under a length at her fourth start in the Group 2 Danehill Stakes at Flemington, even though she sustained an injury after a barrier mishap at the beginning of the race.

Black Caviar defied history with a brilliant win in the Newmarket Handicap (1200m) – Australia’s premier sprint worth $1 million – in March. Despite carrying a crushing 58kg on her back, she crossed the post in first place, three lengths ahead of any other rival and in record time too.

Further highlighting why her Newmarket performance rates as the best by any horse in the world over the past 12 months was the fact last year’s Golden Slipper winner, Crystal Lily, received eight kilograms in weight off Black Caviar under the handicap conditions, yet was still beaten over three lengths.

While the Newmarket is officially rated as her greatest run, it was her latest win in the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) in Sydney that left racing purists, such as yours truly, speechless.

The TJ Smith was supposed to represent her greatest challenge yet. Not only was she racing against one of the best sprint fields ever assembled in the Harbour City, but she was also travelling interstate and racing in the opposite direction for the first time.

At the 300m mark, hulking sprinter Hay List skipped away from the field by three lengths and looked set to cause one of the great racing upsets. What happened next was breathtaking.

Not only did Black Caviar reel in Hay List, she went past him so quickly that she won the race by three lengths. Hay List ran second, still a remarkable five lengths in front of the rest of the field.

You almost have to feel sorry for the connections of Hay List. If Black Caviar wasn’t around, then their horse would be the highest rated sprinter in the world and, without doubt, the best in the country.

Racing’s sprinting goddess will be out to extend her unbeaten record to 13 this Saturday when she steps out in the Group 1 BTC Cup (1200 metres) at Doomben Racecourse in Brisbane. It will be her first race in Queensland, and, more importantly, will give trainer Peter Moody an opportunity to assess how she copes with travelling, especially with a December trip to Hong Kong a strong possibility.

The great mare will once again come up against Hay List, who will be after that first elusive win over Black Caviar.

Hay List is no slouch, recently winning the Group 1 All Aged Stakes by around four lengths eased down. Interestingly, the connections of Hay List genuinely believe he has improved to the point where if he doesn’t beat Black Caviar in the BTC Cup, they are sure he will beat her next time over 1350 metres in the Group 1 Doomben 10,000.

While facts and figures suggest Hay List’s connections have a serious case of wishful thinking, stranger things have happened.

If you haven’t already been lucky enough to witness the ‘best horse in the world’, then Saturday is a great time to start. Not only will you get to see Black Caviar, but also a high class sprint field including her main rival and the second best sprinter in the world, Hay List.

For those who are keen to watch footage of the great mare simply type ‘Black Caviar’ into YouTube. You can also click here and go to the story titled ‘The Perfect Woman’. Black Caviar also has her own website.

Ben Asgari is a third-year Bachelor of Journalism student at La Trobe University and is upstart’s horse racing guru.  You can read more of his work at his blog ‘Ben Asgari Racing’ and follow him on Twitter: @BenAsgariRacing

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