Black Caviar sparkles in surprise workout at Sandown
Superstar … Black Caviar wins at Ascot last year. Photo: Reuters
A HANDFUL of lucky onlookers at Tuesday's Sandown barrier trials left the track with smiles from ear to ear after a surprise appearance from world champion sprinter Black Caviar as the unbeaten mare draws closer to her racetrack return and a final campaign.
She had a jump-out over 800 metres at Sandown with long-time partner Luke Nolen in the saddle, and thrilled those lucky enough to witness her prove that neither injury nor the rigours of last year's campaign had slowed her stunning speed.
Nolen was unsurprised following the workout, despite a sizzling time of 45.58 seconds, and said Black Caviar was exactly where trainer Peter Moody would want with four weeks to go until a first-up run in the Lightning Stakes over 1000m at Flemington. "She felt pretty good to me," Nolen said. "She probably needs one more serious gallop and that's all, she's pretty close."
Although the identities of her eight rivals were unknown to many - it was an unofficial jump-out program held by the Melbourne Racing Club - Black Caviar seemed as powerful as ever as she effortlessly cruised away from the field as Nolen sat motionless for the final 200m.
And any mention of Black Caviar's supposed battle with the bulge was quickly dismissed following the gallop, as Nolen put some perspective on reports she had stacked on the kilograms during a recent spell.
"That fat talk is in reference to her weight in England when she was at her lowest weight ever, she came back heavier than that weight but she had to. Her normal racing weight is around 585 kilograms and she's not far off that now," he said.
Black Caviar's farewell campaign is expected to take in feature sprints in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane - Moody's home state - during the next five months.
■ Sydney trainer Con Karakatsanis and his father Tony were on Tuesday found guilty by the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board of five charges laid against them in relation to conspiracy to treat the horse Howmuchdoyouloveme on race day on November 9 last year.
A stable raid by the Racing Victoria compliance assurance unit just hours before Howmuchdoyouloveme was due to contest the group 2 Yellowglen Stakes at Flemington discovered a chaff bag containing stomach-tubing equipment in the stable occupied by the horse. Compliance officers Kane Ashby and Dion Villella also observed and reported suspicious behaviour by Con and Tony Karakatsanis.
In handing down the penalty, board chairman Russell Lewis said Con and Tony Karakatsanis were unreliable witnesses and the board had come to the conclusion that the version of events offered by them regarding the critical issues of the case should not be accepted.
The board also said Tony Karakatsanis was aware that the contents of the chaff bag contained stomach-tubing equipment and that he knowingly took the bag and the equipment into the stable of Howmuchdoyouloveme.
The RAD board will reconvene early next week to hear submissions on penalty. Tony and Con Karakatsanis had returned to Sydney overnight and were not at Tuesday's hearing.