Can Black Caviar Ever Challenge Phar Lap?

By: Ryan Clark
May 16th, 2011

With 13 wins on the trot and an ever growing legion of fans there’s no doubt Black Caviar has almost single handily rejuvenated the entire Australian Racing industry.

The undefeated mares’ win in the BTC Cup proved she can do it anywhere on any track, probably ticking the last question mark any critics may have had.

In the minds of Australian’s she’s the best racehorse on the planet and her title as the best of a generation is unquestioned.

Inevitably this leads to the ultimate comparison, is Black Caviar our best ever? Is she better than Phar Lap?

While comparing horses of different era’s is an impossible task and simply stacking up track times never tells the full story, her impact on the general public, not just race fans, certainly warrants the comparison.

Doomben was filled to the brim on Saturday, more than 20,000 people packed the venue and created an atmosphere never before witnessed in Queensland.

Peter Moody was cheered onto the racecourse after the win as if he was our biggest rockstar, Luke Nolen was mobbed by fans post race and spent nearly an hour signing autographs and taking pictures.

Eventually security guards had to escort him back to the jockeys’ room so he could get through the lingering mob of supporters.

The last time Doomben hosted a crowd of this size was back in 1973 when 18,000 turned up to witness the final race of Gunsynd.

In fact the only time Doomben has had more people in the grounds was on Melbourne Cup day in 2003 when 29,000 arrived, however the infield was open to boost capacity.

Officials say Black Caviar would have at least tripled the Brisbane crowd and that’s not taking into account the hundreds of thousands watching the race at home, at pubs or at other race courses around the country.

Phar Lap though has stood the test of time as an national icon known by all true Australians.

His arrival on the scene also boosted the racing industry through one of the most difficult times, the great depression.

He was a shining light in the lives of many people who had very little else to celebrate or enjoy.

In terms of the figures Black Caviar has had a perfect run, 13 from 13 and all by big margins.

Phar Lap though started in 51 races and triumphed 37 times and along the way he beat the best in Australia and the world.

His list of achievements includes the Australian Derby, Victoria Derby, Linlithgow Stakes, Futurity Stakes, Chipping Norton Stakes, Cox Plate x2, Melbourne Stakes x2, Underwood stakes, Agua Caliente Handicap and the Melbourne Cup.

He would have won plenty more too had he not had an untimely death while still in great form.

His best winning streak was 14 in a row and Black Caviar can equal that record in her next start, expected to be the Doomben 10,000 in two weeks.

While beating that mark certainly wouldn’t instantly make her the best, it would be an almost vital step as she races into the future.

That’s where the argument may ultimately be decided, in the future.

Black Caviar needs to contest and win plenty more races before she can ever be put up alongside ‘Big Red’.

While her efforts to date are extraordinary and her importance to Australian racing unquestioned, she’s still only recorded a third of the wins of Phar Lap.

In today’s modern era she’ll also need to prove herself against the best in the world in the best races in the world.

Moody is planning an overseas trip at the end of the year and further success internationally would further cement her position at the top.

As for challenging Phar Lap that’s a long way off yet, but she couldn’t have started any better and there’s more than a few punters who are delighted to come along on the journey.

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