Caviar sets off on her epic journey

Black Caviar finally boarded a plane heading towards Britain yesterday for her hugely-anticipated appearance in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Peter Moody’s mare has become one of the all-time greats in Australian racing after her remorseless rise through the sprinting division, and will be looking for her 22nd victory from as many starts on June 23.

Moody has taken no chances as Black Caviar makes her first overseas trip, fitting her with a special compression suit for a journey of more than 30 hours with several stopovers.

Racing Victoria’s Twitter feed said: “Black Caviar has emerged from her float at Melb Airport decked out in her famous compression suit. UK here she comes!”

Adding: “Singapore Airlines SQ7297 about to taxi out with Black Caviar aboard. Cargo includes A380 engine and fruit & veggies! First stop Singapore.”

Black Caviar should arrive at her quarters in Newmarket on Friday and will be accompanied by her vet, exercise rider and the stable foreman.

Such is her dominance, and lack of likely opposition, Coral make the colossal mare the 4-9 favourite to win, and just 6-1 to score by five lengths or more.

“Confirmed challengers to Black Caviar in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes look few and far between at this stage, and we can envisage her blowing the opposition away on her first start outside of Australia,” said Coral’s David Stevens.

“Sprinters from Down Under have proved their worth in Britain in recent years, but Black Caviar brings with her form that is far superior to the likes of Choisir, Takeover Target, Miss Andretti and Scenic Blast, and as far as we’re concerned it’s not if she wins, but a question of how far she wins by.”

Meanwhile Strong Suit thrilled connections in a workout yesterday morning ahead of a likely clash with Frankel in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Richard Hannon’s colt has yet to make his four-year-old debut after sidestepping the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury on account of the testing conditions, but will soon make his competitive comeback.

The Queen Anne would appear his most logical target, but David Redvers, racing manager for owners Qatar Racing, admits the team are in a quandary whether it is right to let Strong Suit return against Henry Cecil’s wonder-horse.

He said: “Strong Suit worked extremely well.

“Both Richard Hughes and Richard Hannon were thrilled to bits and believe it is as good a piece of work as he’s ever done.

“The Queen Anne is still the plan, but it’s an interesting one.

“All common sense tells you we’re going there to get a thumping, but, equally, as sportsmen we really need to have a go, and Sheikh Fahad (owner) is certainly a sportsman.

“We have to weigh up whether getting a thumping at Royal Ascot would be the right thing to do for Strong Suit’s prospective stallion career.

“We believe we’ve got the second-best miler in Europe, but we’ve got to prove that.”

Regardless of whether Strong Suit lines up in the Queen Anne, Sheikh Fahad is still likely to be represented in the race by Diomed Stakes winner Side Glance.

The Andrew Balding-trained five-year-old runs under Sheikh Fahad’s Pearl Bloodstock banner.

Redvers said: “Side Glance is definitely going for the Queen Anne. He’s a gelding, so we don’t have to worry about him going to stud.

“We were delighted with him at Epsom as everything that could go wrong did and he still managed to win.

“He loves Ascot and loves a straight mile.”

Harbour Watch is at best “50-50” to line up in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot, according to the owner’s racing manager, David Redvers.

Richard Hannon’s three-year-old was hugely impressive on his three starts as a juvenile, but has not yet seen the racecourse this season after suffering a setback.

Redvers, who represents Harbour Watch’s part-owners Qatar Bloodstock, insists the colt is pleasing connections at home, but feels the Royal meeting may come too soon.

“Harbour Watch did a bit more work (on Wednesday morning) and everyone was very pleased,” said Redvers.

“He’s coming along nicely, but we do want him to be 110% when he goes to the races and Ascot is coming up pretty quick.

“I’d say it’s 50-50 whether he makes Ascot and I just suspect it might come or week or two too soon.

“It isn’t the end of the world if he misses Ascot. It is still only the middle of June and there are lots of races for him.”

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