Peter Moody gets much of the credit for producing the superstar that is Black Caviar and it’s thoroughly deserved, however if it wasn’t for another Peter the icon may never have eventuated.
Peter Clark got his first look at Black Caviar two years ago when she arrived at his Northern New South Wales Willow Wood Equicentre.
The well regarded property is much more than a spelling paddock, it’s arguably Australia’s best rehabilitation centre.
Clark is at the forefront of equine rehabilitation research including his design and building of the first water walker.
When Black Caviar first arrived at the property she was far from the spectacular specimen we know today.
“She’s a very special horse, we had her earmarked very early on in the piece, she came here two years ago with pretty bad muscular problems and leg problems,” Clark said.
“Moody wanted to race her, I said no you can’t do that she’ll need 10 months to recover.”
This decision by Clark could very realistically have saved her career and without the rehab there’s no way she would have gone on to achieve the success that she has.
“It was a suspensory ligament plus a large amount of muscular problems in her chest, they took a fair amount of time to heal,” he said.
“She goes into the paddock and we rehabilitate her in the pool, i designed and built the first water walker.
“We not only just use exercise therapy but other types of therapy as well.”
Like all other who have played a role in her development Clark is ecstatic with what she has achieved.
“Just to be associated with this quality of horse is just a dream, ” he said.
“Every time she gets off the float now she’s just like the queen, she has her head up and looks around regally.”
After her last run in Sydney Black Caviar spent two weeks back at the property before heading north to Brisbane.
The first week was purely relaxing in the paddock before some light work in the second week of her stay.
“Even though she didn’t look tired I personally think she was mentally tired, ” he said.
“I blocked the media out and didn’t let anyone come and see her.”
As you would expect, when she arrives at Willow Wood she gets special treatment including her own paddock well away from the daily hustle and bustle of his other 30 odd horses.
She isn’t left alone though, in fact she has some somewhat strange companions with her.
“She goes in with a 27 year old pony, and an old billygoat as well,’ he said.
“She loves it, you can hear them playing and chasing each other during the night.”
While he’s naturally excited for what the future holds, like her trainer Clark is nervous every time she lines up for a race, just hoping she gets through it safely.
“From the minute I saw her I just put my hand on her and you can just feel the power,” he said.
“Now we know we’ve got the power, it’s almost frightening.”