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16 May 2012

The Famous Pony just got More Famous

I will begin this post with more abject, pleading apologies, in the absolute neglect of this Blog.  I just cannot seem to keep up with everything at the moment.

I am still coming down from the high of the past 2 and a half weeks, where I was finally reunited with my Famous Pony, the very great champion, Black Caviar.  I've never photographed in Adelaide before, which seems incredible given that I've been doing this professionally for around 15 years now.  Morphetville is a lovely course.  It has an enormous track, which is actually wider in circumference that the famed Flemington course proper.  The staff at the track were accommodating, warm and professional.  And the people of Adelaide, and Australia, showed up in their thousands to celebrate the special phenomenon that is Black Caviar.

On 28 April, the Pony arrived on course to attempt to break the great Zenyatta's unbeaten run of 19 races.  Black Caviar had equalled this feat on 18 February when she defeated Hay List (again) in the G1 Lightning Stakes.  Some 10 weeks later, she rolled up to the Morphetville racetrack like royalty.  The fans followed her wherever she went.  The track was bathed in salmon, and it seemed almost everyone was holding a Black Caviar flag, or wearing a cap, or tie, or t-shirt.

Nelly was long in the coat, and in need of clipping, but she looked bright and well.  I won't be unkind and say that she looked a little large though.  As always, when she races, I found myself continually ducking out the back to her stall, and to where I thought she'd be.  Moody has the great horse kept on the move, and she doesn't spend much time in her raceday stall.  Just as well, because with all the people who flock around her stall to grab a peek at the Famous Pony, it wouldn't take long for her to begin feeling claustrophobic.

Peter Moody. Checking on the Famous One.

With kisses..

Saddling up.

Barrier bound..
Full house
20th Victory.  It was a walk in the park.

I wasn't allowed to cut the legs off the Famous Pony this time.  The 500mm lens stayed moodily in it's bag.  I still love the close ups though!
Back to Scale she came.  The applause was thunderous.

And here's the true magic.  This horse transcends racing.  The look on people's faces, as they waited, and then got to stand next to the great mare, was always the same.  Incredulous joy at being with her.  And she is kind and gentle, and accepts the embrace.  Again, and again.  As always, I marvel at the generosity of the stable, and her connections, who allow us to share the horse, even in the smallest of ways.

And the absolute highlight of my day was reuniting with my Pony.  She recognised me immediately, and started licking my hand straight away.  She was so sure that doing so would produce the usual carrots, for which I whispered abject apologies.  But we had a cuddle and a kiss, and I was a very happy photographer because of this.

Going home..