The Australian sprinting sensation has enthralled the racing public since she touched down, clad in a revealingly tight pressure suit, at Heathrow last week. Hype can often be a hindrance in sport, none more so than in racing, but those who dare accuse Peter Moody’s mare of lacking substance are simply wrong. Black Caviar has won 21 races from as many starts in her homeland – 11 of which at Group One standard – and will not be squaring up against horses in the Golden Jubilee better than those she has tossed to one side in Australia.
Hay List, for instance, was effortlessly brushed aside in the Lightning Stakes in February and that one has earned nearly £1.5 million in prize-money. A huge leviathan of an animal, the stiff drive to the winning post at Ascot should be perfect for her. She also has the power and the guile to hack through the Berkshire mud if the ominous forecast is correct. Her understandably short price should still generate a buzz in the betting ring, with punters on the lookout for each-way alternatives or in markets without the favourite.
Enter stage right Society Rock, who won the Golden Jubilee 12 months ago under an inspired Pat Cosgrave. Trainer James Fanshawe might feel he had an even better prospect for this race in the injured Deacon Blues, but this five-year-old is certainly no impact substitute. Although his year rather tapered off in the Champions Sprint Stakes and in the Hong Kong Sprint, optimism can be gleaned from his encouraging return at York last month.
Despite having both missed the break and having encountered skirmishing inside the final furlong, Kieren Fallon’s mount stayed on earnestly to take third place in the Duke of York Stakes. Society Rock was perhaps not at his best on the Knavesmire, but he crucially gave the impression there is a great deal more to come – especially at Ascot.