Friday, March 18, 2011


Industry pundit, Brian Russell has an interesting aside on the phenomenon that is Black Caviar …

Dance aside, Nijinsky … you appear about to be upstaged 40 years after your shattering racing epoch in Europe by your great grandaughter Black Caviar.
This 4YO Bel Esprit mare, one who added to her world wide respect when she cruised to the line three lengths clear of her nearest rival, the Stratum Golden Slipper winner Crystal Lily, and in a tick outside track record in taking the $1m Newmarket on Saturday, remains unbeaten, and unextended, after her 10 starts.
The record of this thrilling queen of turf, one trained by Peter Moody (Caulfield) for a group of owners, is now one short of that of Nijinsky (above), the massive bay son of Northern Dancer who carved a niche in thoroughbred history in 1969-70 when he crushed the cream of Europe in winning all his first 11 outings.
They included the English Triple Classic Crown events, the Two Thousand Guineas (7-4 on, 2.5 lengths under tight rein), Derby (11-8, 2.5 lengths in fast time) and St Leger (7-2 on, 1.0 length), and also the Irish Derby (11-4 on, 3.0 lengths) and Ascot King George & Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2-1 on, 2.0 lengths).
Nijinsky lost little caste when he was defeated in his remaining two starts, both also at three. They were seconds in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (5-2 on, came from a long way back to be beaten a head) and the Newmarket Champion Stakes.
Sent out an 11-4 on favourite in the Champion Stakes, he was well beaten by Lorenzaccio, a horse who later had modest success as a sire, firstly in England and then Australia. He left a legacy in Ahonoora, a good English sprinter and an influential sire in both hemispheres.
Champion in Europe at two and three and Horse of the Year in the latter, Nijinsky went on to be an eminent sire globally through his sons and daughters. One of his sons, Australian used Whiskey Road, supplied Australian Horse of the Year, international star and very good American sire Strawberry Road.
Challenging to be his most brilliant racing son and successful sire, however, has been the Coolmore dual hemisphere used Royal Academy. Born when Nijinsky was 20 and his dam 17, he is Black Caviar’s now retired paternal grandsire Royal Academy.
One of the leading performers in the world in his generation, Royal Academy ran seven times for four wins, including two Group Ones, the American Breeders’ Cup Mile and the Newmarket July Cup, England’s leading sprint. He finished second in two Group Ones, the Irish Two Thousand Guineas and the Haydock Ladbroke Sprint Cup.
World wide, Royal Academy has been represented by over 1200 winners (155 SWs, 22 G1s in 25 countries) of 3,700 races and $138 million. His 1000 foals got in Australia to date have supplied 565 winners (68 SWs, 16 G1s) of 1625 races and $52.2 million. His broodmares in both hemispheres have contributed 964 winners (86 SWs) of 2600 races and $93.5 million. Fastnet Rock and Heart of Dreams are two Australian Group One winners out of Royal Academy mares.
Royal Academy’s most brilliant performer world wide has been Black Caviar’s sire Bel Esprit, a horse bred by Phil Gunter in the Hunter Valley, and sold for only $9,000 at the Sydney Classic sale. He won eight of 19 starts, including the Doomben 10,000, Blue Diamond Stakes, Blue Diamond Prelude, Blue Diamond Preview and Maribyrnong Plate, and was second in the Newmarket, Caulfield Guineas, Manikato Stakes and Caulfield Invitation Stakes.
One the big sire strengths at Lee Fleming’s Eliza Park stud at Kerrie, Victoria, Bel Esprit has over 200 winners (10 SWs) of 500 races and earners of $15.2 million on the board. His best, of course, is Black Caviar.
In addition to Saturday’s Newmarket victory (1200m in 1:7.36), one which took her earnings to just under $3 million, Black Caviar’s successes have included appearances in the VRC Lightning (3.25 lengths, 1000m in 57.20), Patinack Classic (4.0 lengths, 1200m in 1.7.96), MVRC Schweppes Stakes (5.5 lengths, 1200m), Australia Stakes (2.25 lengths, 1200m) and MRC Schillaci Stakes (1.25 lengths, 1000m in 56.68). She has been odds on in all her outings bar her debut, a 5.0 lengths victory at Flemington.
Bred by Melbourne businessman Rick Jamieson at his Gilgai Farm, Nagambie and sold to Moody Racing for $210,000 at the Inglis Melbourne Premier yearling sale, Black Caviar is bred for speed. She is from Helsinge, an unraced daughter of the Green Desert (Danzig) sire Desert Sun and Scandinavia, a high class 2YO and sprinter by Snippets.
Scandinavia is from Song of Norway, an unraced daughter of Vain and the imported Love Song.
Foaled in Denmark, Love Song was brought to Australia by David Hains, also importer of the dam of his homebred and raced superstar Kingston Town.
Black Caviar is a half-sister to a colt which Gilgai Farm is putting through next month’s Easter Yearling Sale (Lot 277). As he is by the Flying Spur sire Casino Prince, the yearling is nearly a three-quarter brother to another Eliza Park sire in Magnus.
Magnus is a half-brother, by Flying Spur, to Helsinge and a three-quarter brother to Group Two winner and sire Wilander.
A further indication that Royal Academy mares can be helpful in achieving success was found at this week’s Adelaide Cup meeting. One provided Muir, the imported Galileo winner of the Adelaide Cup, and another is the dam of More Awesome, the More Than Ready gelding who took the Adelaide Magic Millions 2YO Classic in fine style.

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