William Reid Stakes: Another Caviar Party

Black Caviar: Aiming for win number 24

Unbeaten mare Black Caviar, the highest-rated horse in training in the world seeks her 24th victory in the G1 William Reid Stakes at Moonee Valley on Friday (10:55 GMT).

"Black Caviar has won 16 races at 1200m and is a six-time winner at Moonee Valley."

After beating the best sprinters both at home and abroad, there is not much left to say about her winning prospects in Friday's Group 1 feature run under standard weight for age conditions.

If anything she meets substandard opposition as far as sprinters are concerned with perhaps four of her six rivals better suited over distances longer than the 1200m of the William Reid.

Black Caviar won the 2011 renewal of the William Reid Stakes defeating Golden Slipper winner Crystal Lily and handy sprinter Hinchinbrook by almost two lengths, idling to the line untouched.

On Friday the only "name" sprinters are newly acquired stablemate Karuta Queen and Queensland galloper Spirit of Boom, neither of whom should offer any serious threat to the iconic galloper.

Still that will not deter the large crowd that will descend on Moonee Valley for one last look at the mare in what could be (although this has not been confirmed by trainer or connections) her final race in Melbourne.

Suspicions that Black Caviar had made a full recovery from her historic trip to Royal Ascot where she won the G1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes after suffering injuries during the running of the race, were confirmed with her record breaking fresh up win in the G1 Lightning Stakes down the straight 1000m on February 16.

Not only was the win in track record time but Black Caviar became the first horse since the first renewal was run in 1955 to win the Lightning Stakes for a third time.

Although dominant defeating subsequent Newmarket Handicap runner-up Moment Of Change, Black Caviar ran to a Timeform rating of 133+, three pounds short of her career master figure of 136 at which level she is the equal highest Timeform rated filly or mare aged three or over since Timeform began ratings in 1948.

I doubt she will get to that level on Friday as Nolen and Moody will just want her to do just the bare minimum to get the win, saving her for the tougher assignments that lie ahead in Sydney and possible "mouth watering" clashes with More Joyous, Pierro and All Too Hard.

Black Caviar has won 16 races at 1200m and is a six-time winner at Moonee Valley. Friday will be her 14th Group 1 success and regular rider Luke Nolen's 21st win aboard the mare. Interestingly Black Caviar has won most of her races during the autumn, eight of her 23 starts coming at that time of the year. She will make that nine with possibly another couple to follow in this preparation.

If stablemate Karuta Queen does not start, Black Caviar will start at her shortest odds ever, some predicting as short as $1.04 or $1.03. While she might not get as short  as Ajax who holds the title as the shortest priced horse ever on an Australian racetrack ($1.02 when beaten in the 1939 Rawson Stakes), it is conceivable she might equal Valerius who started $1.03 in winning the 1961 Chipping Norton Stakes.

Queensland galloper Spirit of Boom, Timeform rated 119 and West Australian Luckygray Timeform rated 122 look the main chances to fill the minor placings.

Spirit of Boom has raced twice since a spell for two very good efforts first in the Oakleigh Plate and then in the Newmarket Handicap. Fresh up in the Oakleigh Plate he settled near last early off a hot speed, but then enjoyed a chequered passage in the straight before flashing late to finish third behind Mrs Onassis. Then last time out he travelled handier in the Newmarket before fading slightly in the latter stages for sixth behind Shamexpress. In a significant riding change, two-time winning rider on the stallion Rick McMahon takes over and although Spirit Of Boom will be having his first run at Moonee Valley, I can see him getting home hard in the closing stages.

The same applies to group one winner from the West Luckygray. The winner of the G1 Kingston Town Stakes (1800m), Luckygray resumed from a spell in the Newmarket Handicap finishing eighth almost two lengths astern Spirit of Boom. While the second up record of Luckygray is impressive, three wins from four attempts in that state, he will be beaten for speed tonight but should be winding up late over a distance short of his best.   

If you can't contemplate defeat for Black Caviar, then why not play in the Winning Margin or the Without the Favourite markets?

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