I, for one, would not be surprised if Sir Philip Marshall has a draw full of Union Jack patterned Reg Grundys.
In the name of his Mother country, he is often – and quite vociferously – left to defend the indefensible.
But even he bridled – you could say the upper lip was seen to wobble – when he read the following column from Stephen “Imgrabbingmyfifteenminutesoffameatanycost” Harris, who writes as the self-titled racing editor for BettingExpert.
The article is headed up: Is Black Caviar the most over-hyped horse in turf history? and the obviously English, Mr Harris, lets fly with his views. My take on it is that everyone has a right to their opinion (even if a lot of them shouldn’t be let loose on a computer), but Phil is clearly upset. He has even gone to say that reading such dribble makes him “ashamed to be a Pom”.
That’s right folks – we don’t break many stories – but you read it here first!
(So Phil, hurry up and take that photo of the Queen off your beside cabinet).
Is Black Caviar the most over-hyped horse in turf history?
Australia has a new wonder horse in the form of Black Caviar, with a huge fan club swelling the gate as this giant mare lines up against the same third-rate Aussie handicappers week in week out. Starting at very short prices, she rarely has to come off the bridle to land massive odds-on in low grade races on her home turf.
All this has proved is terrific toughness and race hardiness, and certainly doesn’t justify the hyperbole that her arrogant and cocksure trainer delivers week in week out as she cruises to another low grade triumph.
In fairness, the wonder mare can only beat what is put in front of her, and she has barely had to come off the bridle in doing so. As such she deserves great credit for her cast iron constitution and race-hardiness. She can be compared with the prolific British handicappers Glencroft or Chaplins Club, who both ran up long winning sequences despite the best efforts of the handicapper.
The true test will come when Black Caviar races outside her comfort zone for the first time at Royal Ascot, although she has bypassed a clash with the mighty Frankel and may only face a small field of British “handicappers” in a modest renewal of the Diamond Jubilee Stakes (worth £500,000 to the winner).
Other trainers have evidently fallen for the hype of trainer Peter Moody and the weekly videos shown from down-under, beating up the same horses by a length or two having made all the running unpressed, (rarely more than workmanlike and very doubtful that she could have won by further if ridden out more forcefully.)
Even in tackling weaker opposition in June she is sure to be an odds-on favourite and a huge army of confident Aussies seem sure to travel over armed with cash to plunge on their heroine (at a much better return than the 1-20 available recently at home). Fellow Australian handler Paul Messara (runs Ortensia in the Kings Stand Stakes) believes Black Caviar will “walk up because with opposition dropping away the race will be the worst she has run in.”
Black Caviar is reported to be in the best shape of her career by trainer Peter Moody: “She is as fit as I have ever had her at this stage of her preparation. I don’t want to have to train her for the next fortnight and she will have a few quiet gallops....facts and figures tell you there is not another horse out there who can beat her so we will take the same approach that we have had in the last eight or ten starts”.
It is a shame that her main rivals seem to have run scared, all heading to the Kings Stand Stakes instead, and the top-rated horse in the world Frankel is aimed elsewhere over trips of a mile plus (which in fairness would have proved a stiffer test of stamina than may be ideal for the Aussie star).
However, winning away from home will at least prove she is not simply a one-trick pony that many of us suspect, although the likely quality of the field will not silence all of the doubters. Either way the Royal Ascot meeting will be enlivened by the appearance of one of the biggest hyped up horses of all time and, whatever one’s view of her actual merit, it will be a spectacle to savour.
|The arrogant & cocksure trainer ... maybe you want to tell him to his face?|