Champion at the bit: Trainer Peter Moody with his superstar sprinter Black Caviar, who is headed to Adelaide this week. Photo: Angela Wylie
UNBEATEN superstar Black Caviar will face nine rivals in her South Australian debut on Saturday in front of a sell-out crowd at Morphettville. The prospect of taking on the world's best sprinter at level weights in the group 1 Robert Sangster Stakes looms as a mission impossible as Black Caviar chases an Australian record 20th consecutive win. Not even group 1 winner Lone Rock is given a chance of defeating Black Caviar and is quoted widely at $17 as second favourite for the race.
Black Caviar opened at $1.04 with corporate bookmakers across the country yesterday, with Centrebet's Neil Evans expecting punters to take the short odds in anticipation of another memorable victory.
''It is the shortest that we have opened her but the punters will still come to back her at the price,'' said Evans. ''When you look at it, $1.04 is a fair price, her record is incomparable to her rivals and the big punters will want to take advantage of that fact. The only way that she could possibly be beaten is if she spends three days in the Barossa on the grog before Saturday.''
Black Caviar impressed in her work at Caulfield yesterday, with trainer Peter Moody declaring the mare was ''spot on'' for the first of two races in Adelaide, the second being the Goodwood on May 12.
Morphettville expects 30,000 racegoers on Saturday with general admission tickets selling out on Monday. Channel Seven will interrupt its football coverage on Saturday to broadcast the race live, such is the level of interest.
While Black Caviar begins a campaign that will lead to Royal Ascot, another unbeaten female, Atlantic Jewel, will face the toughest test of her short career when she tackles older gallopers at weight-for-age in the group 1 All Aged Stakes at Randwick.
Trainer Mark Kavanagh said the filly would be spelled after the All Aged, then prepared for a spring campaign that is likely to include a Cox Plate tilt.
Atlantic Jewel returned from injury in stunning fashion with an easy win in the group 2 Sapphire Stakes a fortnight ago, but will face a tougher line-up on Saturday that is likely to include group 1 winners King Mufhasa, Albert The Fat, and last start TJ Smith Stakes winner Master Of Design.
■Notorious barrier rogue Here De Angels has been banned from competing anywhere in Australia on the grounds that he constitutes a safety risk to horses, jockeys and barrier attendants.
The eight-year-old gelding's owners can appeal the nationwide suspension, but Racing Victoria stewards said it was ''inevitable that he would revert to his previous unruly behaviour if permitted to race again''.
Here De Angels' behaviour has been such that he was moved away one barrier because of concerns with him being drawn next to Black Caviar in the Schweppes Stakes at Moonee Valley during the spring.
With MICHAEL LYNCH