Deja vu as Caviar follows Target

IF YOU had a sense of deja vu when Australia's supermare Black Caviar flew to England, it's because she's following in the hoofsteps of Queanbeyan's greatest ever racehorse, Takeover Target.

Both horses took the same airline on the same route on the same day at the same time - just six years apart.

And they both stayed at Newmarket in the lead-up to the annual Royal Ascot meet.

The only difference was Black Caviar's fancy compression suit, similar to what athletes have been using for about five years, and she had a few extra servants - Peter Moody's assistant, a handler and a vet - to make sure she had a comfortable flight. Both extras were befitting the undisputed Queen of Australia's turf.

It was even the same company that organised the trip - International Racehorse Transport.

IRT Australia operations manager Chris Burke organised to get Takeover Target safely to London's Heathrow Airport and did the same with Black Caviar.


''Despite all the years it was exactly the same flight that they took - same airlines, some routings, same everything. The service we used for Takeover Target has been a consistent service that's stayed on and that was exactly the same service we used on Wednesday night, they were literally identical,'' he told The Canberra Times.

''Same aircraft, same stall, same everything. The only difference was the lycra suit that we saw Black Caviar come out in, which I haven't seen or used before. That's the only thing that changed.

''[The suit] is yet to be proven. It's a new technology that's worked on humans and it will be fascinating to see how it works with the horses.''

After 21 consecutive wins, Black Caviar was always destined to take on the world. There were no such expectations of Takeover Target, as indicated by the paltry $1375 Queanbeyan cabdriver Joe Janiak paid for him in 2003. But a little more than a year later, Takeover Target won the group 1 Salinger Stakes (1200 metres) and the Celtic Swing gelding was on his way to winning more than $6 million in prizemoney and becoming one of Australia's most successful racehorses.

Janiak, who now lives at Coffs Harbour, said the first time Takeover Target travelled was ''nerve-wracking'' but it got easier once he knew what to expect.

When he saw Black Caviar strutting her stuff in her special suit, it wasn't the first time he'd seen the get-up.

''I've seen Hay List in it. He was the first one that started it all off and I heard a little bit about it. I suppose once they got to Dubai they'd have to take it off because of the temperatures over there, they'd be in the mid-40s I suppose,'' Janiak said.

While their travel arrangements were the same, Takeover Target's racing schedule was a little more hectic. He triumphed in the group 2 King's Stand Stakes (1006m) before backing up just four days later to run third in the group 1 Golden Jubilee Stakes (1200m). Black Caviar will run in the latter and is the odds-on favourite for the newly re-named $780,000 Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Ascot on June 23.