Is Black Caviar The Most Over-Hyped Horse In Turf History?
Racing Editor for bettingexpert. Always searching for winners "against the crowd" and trying to find the value.
Is Black Caviar over-rated? As the new Australian wonder horse prepares for the Diamond Jubilee Stakes, today on the blog Stephen asks the question some have been asking.
|Age : 5 years old||Origin : Australia||Sire : Bel Esprit||Trainer : Peter Moody||Win Range : 1000m- 1400m|
|Foaled : 18/08/2006||Sex ; Mare||Dam : Helsinge||Earnings : $5,450,550||Win Pct : 100%|
Australia has a new wonder horse in the form of Black Caviar, with a huge fan club swelling the gate as this giant mare lines up against the same third-rate Aussie handicappers week in week out. Starting at very short prices, she rarely has to come off the bridle to land massive odds-on in low grade races on her home turf.
All this has proved is terrific toughness and race hardiness, and certainly doesn't justify the hyperbole that her arrogant and cocksure trainer delivers week in week out as she cruises to another low grade triumph.
In fairness, the wonder mare can only beat what is put in front of her, and she has barely had to come off the bridle in doing so. As such she deserves great credit for her cast iron constitution and race-hardiness. She can be compared with the prolific British handicappers Glencroft or Chaplins Club, who both ran up long winning sequences despite the best efforts of the handicapper.
The true test will come when Black Caviar races outside her comfort zone for the first time at Royal Ascot, although she has bypassed a clash with the mighty Frankel and may only face a small field of British "handicappers" in a modest renewal of the Diamond Jubilee Stakes (worth £500,000 to the winner).
Other trainers have evidently fallen for the hype of trainer Peter Moody and the weekly videos shown from down-under, beating up the same horses by a length or two having made all the running unpressed, (rarely more than workmanlike and very doubtful that she could have won by further if ridden out more forcefully.)
Even in tackling weaker opposition in June she is sure to be an odds-on favourite and a huge army of confident Aussies seem sure to travel over armed with cash to plunge on their heroine (at a much better return than the 1-20 available recently at home). Fellow Australian handler Paul Messara (runs Ortensia in the Kings Stand Stakes) believes Black Caviar will "walk up because with opposition dropping away the race will be the worst she has run in."
Black Caviar is reported to be in the best shape of her career by trainer Peter Moody.."She is as fit as I have ever had her at this stage of her preparation. I don't want to have to train her for the next fortnight and she will have a few quiet gallops....facts and figures tell you there is not another horse out there who can beat her so we will take the same approach that we have had in the last eight or ten starts".
It is a shame that her main rivals seem to have run scared, all heading to the Kings Stand Stakes instead, and the top-rated horse in the world Frankel is aimed elsewhere over trips of a mile plus (which in fairness would have proved a stiffer test of stamina than may be ideal for the Aussie star).
However, winning away from home will at least prove she is not simply a one-trick pony that many of us suspect, although the likely quality of the field will not silence all of the doubters. Either way the Royal Ascot meeting will be enlivened by the appearance of one of the biggest hyped up horses of all time and, whatever one's view of her actual merit, it will be a spectacle to savour.
You must be logged in to post a comment! Sign up + or log in in the top right corner.
the real question we should all be asking, Is Frankel the Most overated horse of all time?
Greg...I hope you enjoyed watching the best horse in the world win by eleven lengths!!
Obviously written to make yourself feel important. Your fable is littered with nonsense and lies. And then shown yourself to be a fanboi of the slowest wonderhorse in the world, Frankel. As for bypassing him, she is there in all the races they want. Frankels owners are too scared to lose stud value to try against her or even any other decent horse 2000m on. He is no more that a miler. You are the sort of person that the bookies love, constantly losing your weekly wage packet while talking up how well you are doing at the local. You have a huge opportunity to make a fortune here by betting against her but you chicken out by saying the horses she will race against are 2nd or 3rd graders. Here is the heads up. They are also the best the UK have to offer, so maybe the only thing you have right in this entire article. Met too many of you self important blowhards. Build some truth and facts into your nonsense and people maybe will think your opinion is worthwhile. And stop hero worshipping Frankel, he dodged the derby and will dodge Cirrus De Aglis and many other good middle distance horses, hell surely you must wonder why they never talk about The Arc.. Its because he is a miler.
We will have to agree to disagree about the visual ease with which the respective stars win by. Frankel was in his early days very free and hard to settle...at times he raced with the choke out and went for home very early but still won from top class opposition. How would you bet in a match race if the two ever met? (say at 7f on good ground).
Stephen, your latest comment confuses me somewhat. You're saying that because Black Caviar has never left Australia, she doesn't deserve her 'best in the world' status, but Frankel, who has never even travelled over the Irish Sea or English channel does? He's met horses from every conintent, are you sure? During his career he has faced nine individual horses trained overseas, eight of which were trained in Ireland or France (Europe is still one conitent, right?). Australasia is a continent, too. Frankel has won by wide margins because he has been made to do so, although an excepional horse in his own right, he does not win with the visual ease that Black Caviar does. We will never know what would happen if Luke (Nolen) decided to push the "go" button as we will not see a horse capable of forcing her to do that. She beats the same horses....... do Excelebration and Dubawi Gold mean anything to you? Both horses are exceptional, I don't doubt that for one second, but to say one is overrated and the other is the best in the world is, quite frankly, absurd.
Excellent response Flippit, and just the type of reasoning and rationale I was trying to provoke. My argument against BC is not that she is not a tough and quality mare, but rather she has not proved herself away from Aus and does not merit the "best in the world" tag her trainer seems determined to label her with. When a horse wins 21 races it is a remarkable achievement but these have been against the same set of Australian sprinters, whether they be labelled Group 1 or not, and saying that "we have had great sprinters in the past" i.e Takeover Target etc etc, does not make this crop any good. Frankel, in contrast, is clear top rated in the world because he has met horses from every continent and basically demolished them by wide margins. BC, to my eye at least, has won by a length or two from a bunched field of the same horses on his home soil. It is wonderful that her trainer, against his wishes and on the insistence of her brave set of owners, has agreed to come over for Ascot and there we will get some answers!!
Hi Stephen, Just thought I’d send you a (not so) quick response to your recent blog on Black Caviar. Firstly, I loved the way you have written it to cover all of your bases – very brave of you…….. let me get this right, she’s overrated, but if she wins the Gr1 at Royal Ascot, she still isn’t any good? I’d just like to go over some (major)points with you if I could? 1. Can you please explain what you consider “third rate Aussie handicappers”? I’m guessing you are referring to the likes of Hay List, Ortensia, Wanted, Scenic Blast (won a Golden Jubilee), Melito, Foxwedge, Beaded and Crystal Lily? That’s just a few of the Gr1 winners she has beaten at Gr1 level. Before you start saying the Australians don’t count as Gr1 calibre horses, remind me again of the success they have had with their sprinters at Royal Ascot in recent years. Choisir, Miss Andretti, Takeover Target, Scenic Blast and Starspangledbanner all won at Royal Ascot and none of them would be able to put it up to Black Caviar. Hell, the last time the Australians did send a third rate horse to Ascot, he (Haradasun) won the Queen Anne. 2. “low grade” – you might just want to do your research on this comment. The Gr1 Newmarket handicap is known to be one of (if not) the toughest sprint in the world. A Gr1 full of Gr1 calibre horses, but as a handicap. She carried more weight than any filly has ever carried that day and still blitzed a top class field. Giving the Gr1 winning Golden Slipper winner 8kgs. In fact the first four home that day were all Gr1 winners and she was giving all of them at least 5.5kgs. She defeated Star Witness (went close at Royal Ascot last year) by 8 lengths, giving him 5kgs! So, please do enlighten me about the low grade races she has been winning? I understand her last two races in Adelaide have been a lower grade, but is that her fault? Had Black Caviar not been around, Hay List would be considered a superstar and it’s a great shame he is recovering from serious injury as it would have been a joy to behold watching these two superstars pull ten lengths clear down the Ascot straight. Previous world wide results show time and time again that Australian bred and raced sprinters are far superior to those the rest of the world can throw at them. The English currently have Bated Breath, Sole Power and Society Rock, all of whom were sunk without trace in Hong Kong last December, behind horses who have a couple of lengths to find with Ortensia – who in turn has over 6 (six) lengths to find with a certain Black Caviar – tell me again who is overrated? 3. There is no “hype”, it’s based purely on what we have all seen. On what she has done to genuine Gr1 horses in her races. One the times she records week after week – without breaking sweat. Moody is not an “arrogant” man, far from it – Just honest. He, like most of the world realises he has the best horse in the world. If being a realist is “arrogant” I’m in the wrong profession. Talking of hype, how has Frankel been rated 2lbs superior to Sea The Stars already? After that individual won a Guineas, Derby, Eclipse, Juddmonte International, Irish Champion and an Arc – with many of those races being open to all ages. 4. “having made all the running, unpressed”, okay, yes she does make most of the running in her races. Why? Because she hasn’t come up against a rival (bar Hay List) who has the exceptional cruising speed to keep up with her mid race. An uncontested lead doing 10 seconds to the furlong – I’d like to see another horse spit out those kind of fractions. She actually ran a sub 10 second furlong earlier this year in the Gr1 Lightning over 5 furlongs after having just seven days to recover from her first 7 furlong race. Only 11 winners from 110 starters have managed to do drop back to this distance in seven days since 1995! 5. Yes, she did bypass a race against Frankel, but why should she travel half way around the world to race a horse in his back yard over his optimum distance? I wonder what Usain Bolt would say if pressure was put on him to travel to Kenya to race Asbel Kiprop (champion 1500m runner) over 1500m? It’s the exact same situation. No one would expect him to compete in such an event, so why should they expect Black Caviar to do the same? She’s the one willing to travel – I don’t see him jumping on a plane anytime soon. And before you begin to gloat that you’ve hooked an aussie, I’m just a whinging pom like yourself – the only difference being, I appreciate a good horse when I see one.
Thanks for the words Andrew. I have to admit, it's been a decent run of form lately, and if I can keep it up until the end of the month I'll be very happy. The Yield (ROI or POT, whatever you'd like to call it) is a little higher than expected, but the strike rate (around 18%) a bit low. Let's see what the next couple of weeks bring.....
Its been a while since I can remember a horse getting such regular coverage down here in Australia. Will be interesting to see if she can indeed continue to live up to the hype. Time will tell. By the way Starkingdom, nice work with your tips. Top shelf!
I have to give credit to The Guardian for the video, as that's where I first saw it (via @claimsfive on Twitter): http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/blog/2012/jun/12/horse-racing-live-12-june-2012?CMP=twt_gu
By the way its a great video..thanks for uploading!
Yes fair point she hasn't always dominated and is more versatile than I have given her credit. She is currently 2-5 to win at Ascot such is the dearth of opposition...but at that price, and the fact she has never raced against opposition that is easy to assess in Europe, she must be opposed. My main view is that the arrogance of her trainer is unfounded, remarkable mare though she is, and I always believe that pride usually comes before a fall. In soft ground, away from home there are enough imponderables to take her on!!
This video says a lot, acompilation of all 21 of BC's wins: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FUIWShSNTkE (no comments on the music, although I don't mind it, and some of the commentary is over the top) A couple of things to keep in mind is that the straights in Australia tend to be significantly shorter, in many cases, than in the UK. Mooney Valley for instance, has barely 1 furlong (200 metres) from the final turn to the winning post. Therefore, when BC kicks clear on the turn, it may often appear that she's had an easy lead. Have a look at Win 7 - Hot Danish is clearly pushing her for the lead on the turn, then just can't go on. Wins 12 and 13 - She comes from behind against Hay List on both occasions. Wins 17 and 18 - The videos start just before the home turn and BC clearly not leading. She's three wide on the turn. Win 19 - once again Hay List is putting it to her until the final 1/2 furlong. Race 20 - Didn't lead. I will say her 21st win was a very easy race. At Ascot, I think the things that could bring BC unstuck are possibly the ground if Soft or Heavy and potentially Nolan being caught out by tactics or pace. However, in all honesty, I think she'll win again.
Yes thats a good point Starkingdom...however the point I was making is that it is all form is in Australia against all the same horses every time. To my eye she has generally been gifted soft leads on the bridle (especially in recent wins where nothing dares to challenge the 1-20 fav). At Ascot we ought to see a proper race, even though the hype has again scared off serious opposition, I sense her voiciferous supporters may be muted.
The one word answer to the headline of this article is "No." The inaccuracy begins with the assumption that Black Caviar "lines up against the same third-rate Aussie handicappers week in week out." In her 21 wins, Black Caviar has beaten 26 individual Group 1 winners. (Source: http://www.thethoroughbred.com.au/fullstory/20120608_BlackCaviarallyouneedtoknow) Hay List, a horse Black Caviar has beaten into second place on four occasions, has won 3 Group 1 races and is currently fifth in the Timeform Global Top 20 list. Hardly your third-rate Aussie handicapper. You're right to say that Black Caviar can only beat those that dare race against her, and some of her wins may have been on the easy side, however she has also beaten some very good horses, who would have been hailed as some sort of champions in another era.
I love the sense of pride that the Aussie's have invested in the wondermare...but the arrogant assertion that she is the best in the world is currently unproven and, in my opinion, very unlikely!
Dear Stephen no (second) name. Probably one of the worst, most inaccurate articles I have ever read. Congratulations. Nothing further to say other than that. Oh, apart from........ Go Nelly!
It will certainly be interesting to see how she runs at Royal Ascot. The ground may well be testing if the current weather continues and that will at least be a totally different test for her. In a way I hope she does win and win really impressively...racing needs a superstar. It is a shame that a clash with Frankel has been avoided as that would have settled a few arguments aswell!
With such prize money on offer, surely it's the European (and USA come to that) horses who are running scared of BC. It's a weak race considering the prize money, but then again the best sprinters around in the northern hemisphere are a weak lot. Having watched videos of her races, she looks the real McCoy to me. Yes, she doesn't win by that much but she can only beat the opposition and her sectional times are genuine enough. Rated 8lb inferior to Frankel and just ahead of Cirrus Des Aigles and Excelerbation is a bare and fair assessment of her performances to date.