Nothing left to chance as 'The Mare' hits town
Black Caviar is bidding for a 20th straight win. Photo: Angela Wylie
SOUTH Australian racing officials, already elated that the appearance of Black Caviar in Adelaide today has managed to overshadow the Adelaide-Port Adelaide AFL showdown tomorrow, are leaving nothing to chance by doubling security around the world's fastest racehorse in the lead-up to today's attempt at a record 20th consecutive win.
And while Black Caviar has fitted in well to her new surroundings, the South Australian Jockey Club, which expects a crowd of more than 30,000 today, this week gave permission for Victorian barrier attendant Glenn Darrington to fly in for today's Sportingbet Classic to handle the mare before the start.
''Glenn knows the mare and the way the mare goes up into the barriers. We are fine with that and I think they [connections] will do the same when she races in England,'' said chief steward Graham Loch. ''And the club felt that a doubling of the security with Black Caviar was more to stop people … coming to the stables and taking pictures and affecting the streets around the stables and causing traffic problems.
''Her stabling has been kept a secret, but once it gets out, and that won't be hard, we don't want people getting in the way. These stables are full of other racehorses and trainers have to get their work done.''
Usually in Adelaide the clash between the state's two AFL sides ensures saturation media coverage. Not this week. Black Caviar has dominated the news, and twice has been on the front of the local paper.
While Black Caviar is at prohibitive odds to maintain her unbeaten record, it hasn't stopped punters from unloading on the champion mare.
One TAB Sportsbet customer yesterday placed $100,000 on her at $1.04, for a profit of $4000 if she wins. Earlier, $50,000 was bet at $1.05 on a Black Caviar/North Melbourne (to beat Gold Coast) double.
The track was rated a dead (5) late yesterday. Black Caviar has won nine of her 19 races on dead tracks, but trainer Peter Moody is not worried if the forecast showers arrive and the track becomes soft.
''I don't think anyone wants to see a great race day spoilt by weather, but she's a filly that has handled soft ground. It's not a major concern,'' he said. ''The only way I would have any issues on running her is if the surface was unsafe or presented some risk to her long-term, but hopefully that is not the case.''
Some 30,000 salmon-and-black flags will be given to punters at the track, with an array of souvenirs, including ties, hats and stubby holders, also for sale.
The state government is also providing free travel for racegoers travelling on trams, buses and trains after establishing a committee to ensure the meeting ran smoothly.
''Black Caviar will bring a huge national and international spotlight to Adelaide,'' Premier Jay Weatherill said this week.