Twelve months ago all-conquering mare Black Caviar brought thousands of Australians to Royal Ascot and had the adoring public at home glued to their TVs in the middle of the night.
She gave everyone a fright but didn’t disappoint, clinging on for a nail-biting victory in the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes.
Black Caviar has since retired a legend but Australian success can continue in the Diamond Jubilee when John O’Shea-trained mare Sea Siren lines up in what is race three (12:45am EST) on the final day of the Royal Ascot carnival.
She might not be undefeated and she won’t pack out Melbourne’s Federation Square, but O’Shea is confident the four-year-old is winning chance after having a hiccup-free trip to the UK.
“She’s done particularly well, we couldn’t have asked for any more really,” O’Shea told media in the UK earlier this week.
“She’s very fit now…she’s ready to rock and roll.”
“One of the reasons we were keen to bring her over is she is a very resilient, tough horse.”
Sea Siren hasn’t won since October’s Manikato Stakes but saved her best Royal Ascot lead-up for last.
When many were writing her off, some suggesting her trip to Hong Kong last year had ruined her, the Fastnet Rock mare bounced back last month in the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 to run a highly credible second behind star colt Epaulette.
While her autumn form wasn’t her best, there is no denying Sea Siren’s class. She’s chalked up six wins from 15 starts, including three at Group 1 level, and collected more than $1.6 million in prizemoney.
In the Diamond Jubilee she is rated a $9 chance and will be ridden by champion British jockey Ryan Moore, something O’Shea believes is a significant advantage.
“He’s not a jockey I know a lot about but everyone I speak to is glowing in their reports of him…you have to got to take any advantage you can get so having a superior jockey is good,” O’Shea said.