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28 February 2011

The Mighty Mare

More Joyous.  The Mighty Mare.  She came to Caulfield on Saturday 26th February, and took the G1 Futurity Stakes.  Need I say more!!!!

Oil and Diamonds

I spent last Saturday at Caulfield Racecourse.  It was Blue Diamond Stakes Day, and it is a race meeting that I photograph each year because of the wonderful fields it usually draws, and the fact that I love being at Caulfield so much.  

This year a colt, sired by Elusive Quality (the sire in America of superstar Smarty Jones) and out of the Danehill mare Watchful started a raging favourite.  His name was Sepoy, and he was bred and owned by Darley Australia.  I do a lot of work for Darley.  They are a valued client of mine, and I like the team very much.  

It was therefore with great pleasure that I watched Sepoy absolutely run away with the Blue Diamond Stakes.  It is rare to see a 2 year old remain unbeaten, and even rarer to see them dominate their races so completely.  He'd done this in his lead up races, but we've seen this before, and many come with huge reputations to the Group 1 race and fall apart.  Sepoy is the exception though, and he just strolled away from the field.  The Darley team were ecstatic, and it was lovely to see.  They are down to earth, friendly, and highly professional and so I felt very pleased for them.  I snuck off after the horse left too so I could get some shots of the little pony Sepoy being hosed too, and that was a lot of fun.  

20 February 2011

Black Caviar. The World's Best - and I'm not exaggerating

Put simply, this mare has to be seen to be believed.  It is difficult to put her performance on Saturday into words, although I'm sure that my friend Les Carlyon could do it effortlessly. 

The great sprinting mare Black Caviar (Bel Esprit - Helsinge) fronted up to Flemington yesterday afternoon, to contest the G1 Lightning Stakes first up.  She again put her unbeaten record on the line, and with this mare, you always wonder about her soundness, because she's had niggling problems.  There was much written about the mare in the lead up to the race.  She'd won 8 straight, and was poised to join a handful of horses that had won their first 9 starts.  The massive gelding Hay List was again lining up to challenge the mare.  She'd beaten him convincingly in the Patinack, but clearly the horse wasn't right, so most were expecting an improved performance from him.  His trainer was one of the only ones game to give the mare another shake though, because these two great sprinters really were a class above the rest of the field.  

I was pretty sure the mare would win.  I was still surprised by the effortless nature of the performance.  Slightly disappointed from the point of view of my images that Luke Nolen sat up on her and eased her right down before the line.  But in all honesty more irritated with myself for not following my gut instinct (no guts no glory!) of shooting the race from the Clock Tower, which is where she exploded away and was travelling.  Alas.......  The crowd gave her a standing ovation, and it was wonderful theatre.  More of that homage to the horse that I adore.  I cannot help it, at heart I am just a horsey girl, and love my horses, so I love it when it's all about the horse.  Peter Moody made me again want to kiss him with his post race comments!  

"They've got televisions in the rest of the world and there's plenty of planes that come this way.  So if any of them (international rivals) want to jump on one and come and have a crack, I'm sure they'll find a slot for them in a Group 1 race in Australia."

More and more this man is my hero!!!!

Now I admit that I'm searching for a new favourite horse in the wake of So You Think's departure overseas.  Last week I photographed More Joyous winning at Randwick, and this great mare will line up at Caulfield next weekend in the Group 1 Futurity Stakes.  It is my belief that these are the two best horses running in Australia at the moment.  They are unlikely to meet, given that Black Caviar is being kept to sprints, and I couldn't imagine Gai Waterhouse pitting her wonderful mare against Black Caviar in a sprint.   I am always loathe to start saying things like 'best horse I've seen' when  a horse has not yet retired, because we don't know what they will go on to do.  But I can say that she is privilege to photograph, and that I've seen few performances that rival her last 4 wins.  I can only wait impatiently until she runs in the Newmarket Handicap in 3 weeks time!!!!

Enjoy....  I did!

Black Caviar parades in gleaming health before the G1 Lightning Stakes.
Away she goes.  She was cantering while the others were being ridden out.  Nolen clicked her up a little, and she just strode away from the field.
Return to Scale - Luke Nolen tosses his goggles to the crowd
Standing Ovation

Ah!  My hero!  That's right Peter.  Please keep her here!  We love her!!!