English trainer Eve Johnson Houghton is keen to line up The Cheka against super mare Black Caviar at Royal Ascot after finishing second in the Group 2 Duke Of York Stakes (1200m) at York in England yesterday.
But even tough she considers her charge to be a top line sprinter, she has no illusions of beating the undefeated Black Caviar in the Group 1 £500,000 The Diamond Jubilee Stakes (1200m) at Royal Ascot on June 23.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to bits and he’s confirmed he’s a sprinter,” Johnson Houghton
“We’ll have to look at the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot next – I don’t mind being second to Black Caviar!”
“We’ll go to Ascot and hope everyone else is afraid to take on Black Caviar.”
“He just got knocked out of his stride at one point today which probably cost him the race.”
The Duke Of York didn’t throw up any serious would be challengers to the Peter Moody trained super star after outsider Tiddliwinks scored a surprise win at 25-1.
Jockey Jamie Spencer brought Tiddliwinks from the tail of the field to score by a neck over The Cheka with Society Rock making up ground to be a neck back in third spot.
And even though Tiddliwinks wasn’t fancied in the betting trainer Kevin Ryan said that he was keen on his chances yesterday and is now likely to move on to Royal Ascot with the six year old to take on Black Caviar.
“Tiddliwinks had a few niggles after last year’s race and we never got a clear run with him, but we really fancied him today,” Ryan said.
“We had to get a run into him first at Newmarket, but the ground was against him.”
Stable mate Bogart finished fourth and pleased Ryan enough to head to Royal Ascot with the three year old as well.
“Bogart ran a hell of a race for a three year-old and will improve half a stone for that,” Ryan said.
“He will go to Ascot, but Tiddliwinks doesn’t like the soft and fast ground doesn’t like him so we’ll have to see what the going is.”
Last year’s Golden Jubilee Stakes winner Society Rock will be heading back to Royal Ascot after making up ground late for third on a slow track which saw the winner run the six furlongs in 1.12.96s.
Bookmaker Boylesports shortened Black Caviar into 4-9 favourite for the Diamond Jubilee with Society Rock at 12-1 with the unplaced Duke Of York favourite Hoof It.
Other Australian horses in the early market are the John O’Shea trained Foxwedge at 14-1, the former Peter Snowden trained Sepoy at 16-1 and Tony Gollan’s Temple Of Boom at 20-1.
Moody is currently putting the final touches on Black Caviar before she departs for England in two and a half weeks after the super sprinter racked up her twenty-first straight win in the Group 1 $500,000 The Distinctive Homes Goodwood (1200m) at Morphettville on May 12 at her second run back from a short break.
Black Caviar will head overseas with the benefit of two race starts under her belt and Moody is confident he has done enough with her so when she arrives at her stable in Newmarket, the mighty mare will be ready to produce her best when she steps out at Royal Ascot.
“That’s the reason I wanted to give her two 1200m races to put a nice foundation into her as she’s basically going into a 1400m race by the time you equate that to going up the testing hill,” Moody said.