Ever since Choisir came and conquered at Royal Ascot in 2003, the Australian invasion has since maintained its strength, and at the 2012 Royal Meeting, it may sending over the greatest sprinters ever known "Down Under" and possibly even the world.
The 21-race unbeaten Black Caviar arrives on British shores this week ahead of her Royal engagement, for which she is already a huge 1/2 odds on favourite to win the Group One Diamond Jubilee Stakes over six furlongs on the Saturday of the five-day meeting.
Choisir won the Group One Kings Stand Stakes and the Golden Jubilee Stakes (now Diamond Jubilee) in the same week before finishing second in the July Cup a couple weeks later, a race that Black Caviar is also entered in.
As a sire, Choisir fathered Starspangledbanner, who, when trained by Aidan O’Brien, emulated his father by winning the 2010 Golden Jubilee. He went one better by winning the July Cup, illustrating that Australian-bred sprinters are capable of beating their Northern Hemisphere rivals.
Other Australian Group One winners in recent years include Takeover Target, Miss Andretti and Scenic Blast, who all won the Kings Stand Stakes in 2006, 2008 and 2009 respectively. The latest success story for an Australian import came 12 months ago when So You Think, also trained by O’Brien, won the Coral Eclipse Stakes after finishing second in the Prince of Wales Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Black Caviar is now a 6-year-old, and 11 of her wins have come at Group One level, including the last five. Her Timeform rating of 136 makes her the best Filly or Mare in the world, and she has only Frankel above her in the global rankings. She will be facing up against nothing remotely close to that level of performance, which is why she is 1/2 to win at Ascot.
Paddy Power bookmakers have an interesting ‘Specials’ market that offers 10/11 odds on both Black Caviar and Frankel winning their outings at the Royal meeting. Frankel is entered and more likely to run in the Group One Queen Anne Stakes over a mile on the opening day, though he does have an entry for the Prince of Wales Stakes over 10 furlongs the following day. It has already been ruled out that the two will meet each other in any rules race, probably at any time.
Black Caviar is trained by Peter Moody in Melbourne and has been ridden in 18 of her races by regular jockey Luke Nolen, who will be coming to Royal Ascot to maintain the partnership. In her 21 races, the brilliant mare has won almost $6 million in prize money.
Racing fans should get used to hearing her name over the next couple of weeks.
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