The following yarn – penned by Thomas Dullard – appeared recently in Swan Hill’s local paper, The Guardian.
Black Caviar, the world’s best sprinter won by a nose at Royal Ascot on Saturday night - and Swan Hill is lucky enough to have some serious connections.
Manangatang born jockey Luke Nolen rode the mare to victory by a nose, with nervous connections looking on as French runner Moonlight Cloud mounted a serious challenge to the Australian, trained by Peter Moody.
It was Black Caviar’s 22nd win from as many races.
Local boy Mitch Coffey also has a claim to fame -- as a manager at the stud farm which is home to Black Caviar’s father (Bel Esprit), brother (Moshe), uncle (Magnus) and grandad (Desert Sun).
Coffey, whose surname is synonymous with horse racing in Swan Hill, regularly brushed shoulder’s with the racing royalty’s family as a stallion handler before progressing to the sales and nominations manager at the Eliza Park stud farm.
“Bel Esprit (Black Caviar’s father) was one of the horses that I handled every day. He is a beast of a horse; big, strong, powerfully built and very much like his not-so-little girl. Bel Esprit was one of the best horses I have ever seen race, but Black Caviar is something entirely different,” he said.
Coffey (pictured above with Bel Esprit) told The Guardian that Eliza Park was extremely excited about the connections to one of the best race horses ever.
“Black Caviar is an Eliza Park product and one we are very proud of, as a stud we get great satisfaction out of seeing her race because our connections run deep,” he said.
“Every time she races she is rewriting the history books, we are very lucky to be a part of such a record.”
Coffey, who moved to Melbourne to follow his love for the equine industry after completing year 12 said he was happy to be born into a racing family.
“My brother (Jordan) and I had very little choice on our career paths. But, Dad (Ian) and Austy have always been a great support and taught me everything I know about pedigrees, bloodline, horses and the industry.”
Helsinge (Black Caviar’s mother) was also recently sent back to Bel Esprit (Black Caviar’s father) at the Eliza Park Stud farm where Coffey works. As a result, Black Caviar might just have a full sister in the making.
Further to the Coffey connection, Luke Nolen was born and bred at Manangatang, he spent his first 10 years in the Mallee.
Nolen has 523 career wins, but surely none could be bigger than the Royal Ascot win.