It wasn’t quite the Black Caviar that Australians are used to seeing but the champion mare hung on in a nail-biting finish to take out the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot.
The Royal Ascot assault was the end result of a 12-month preparation by trainer Peter Moody but it nearly came unstuck as jockey Luke Nolen appeared to ease off as the horse hit the line.
After looking to have control of the race with 100 metres to go, the Bel Esprit five-year-old’s incredible unbeaten streak nearly ended in shocking circumstances as French mare Moonlight Cloud stormed home.
But in front of 80,000 people, including an estimated 5000 Australians, the world’s best sprinter managed to hang on by half a head to claim an incredible 22nd consecutive victory.
No stone was left unturned by trainer Peter Moody in the long build up to the race and the trainer was elated that it all came to fruition at the famous British racecourse.
“I am an extremely proud Aussie. Words can’t describe the feeling,” Moody said.
“May everyone at home be extremely proud of her, she got the job done, regardless of how far it was by.”
Moody admitted Black Caviar wasn’t at her best and said she would be rushed home to Australia for evaluation.
“She’ll go straight to quarantine and be home in 28 days,” he said.
Nolen described it as a feeling of relief after admitting he made an error by easing off before the line.
“The emotion you experience with this mare when she wins you don’t get excited you just get relieved,” Nolen said.
“It was probably a rookie error but it was one I got away with.”
Nolen also said she was not at her best as she pulled up suddenly after he let her relax.
“I let her coast probably the last five strides and she pulled up on me noticeably and took me by surprise,” he said.
“It was a lot more workman like today…I don’t know if was because she was a bit below her best.
“I think that’s a part of it. You saw her post race, she was out on her feet, she was really buggered.”