For many Australian punters, there had really been something missing in the racing industry since the legendary Phar Lap passed away last century. While Flemington had still been home to dozens of champions throughout the years, and had seen some incredible races and success stories, the magic of the sport had disappeared for quite some time.
And then along came the greatest mare to sprint along that hallow straight, Black Caviar.
As we draw closer to Saturday’s upcoming, Black Caviar, The Great Horse Raceday we reflect on the magic that was restored back in to racing as Black Caviar impressed audiences around the world. As well as the races where she drew a crowd of thousands to Flemington, and still managed to shock and impress everyone – which reinforced the mare as the superpower she really was! This is exactly how Victoria Racing Club Member and owner of Reckless, Joan Walker remembers Black Caviar.
Having never missed a race day for as long as she can remember, Joan Walker can confirm the absolute thrill and captivation that was felt throughout the mare’s remarkable reign of the sprint races. There is a twinkle in her eye as she recalls her memories of the champion who captured the public’s attention.
On any raceday before placing a bet, Joan will walk to the horse stalls or view the horses in the mounting yard. She watches and learns from the horse’s behaviour and basis her decision on that. Mrs Walker recalled the first time she saw the mighty mare in the parade ring.
“She had a beautiful walk to her, she looked calm and confident and it was only her first race.”
When Joan speaks of the journey of Black Caviar, the emotion and gratitude of witnessing such a special horse is very much still there.
“She (Black Caviar) is an immortal champion,” says Joan.
“She’s too amazing to summarise into 3 words. When she raced she simply flowed like music from start to end.”
Joan is well versed with what a remarkable horse looks like. As destiny would have it, Joan began her illustrious association with racing at the ripe age of six. Forget playing with toy ponies like other young girls of her age, on her sixth birthday Joan walked on to a racecourse with her father and the blessing of racing royalty WS Cox by her side. Proudly boasting that she was the first child to come to on to a course, WS Cox who was a friend of her families instilled a passion for racing and horses within her. From owning horses to her powerful influence in establishing the Wakeful Club- an organisation which promotes the networking and participation of women throughout all facets of the thoroughbred industry – not a lot over the years has slipped past this racing stalwart.
So when Joan was so adamant with her belief that there was potential for Black Caviar’s bloodline to produce greatness and another legend, we had to sit down and listen!
She captivated us with her knowledge, and presented us with information that stated there are a few key characteristics and elements which make a champion – the most important being that the horse is well managed and maintained.
Joan believed that if Black Caviar had been trained by any other trainer, she simply did not know if she could have been as spectacular. She admired Peter Moody’s determination, restraint and hard work with Black Caviar.
She stated as she looked at her camera roll on her phone that was filled with thousands of racing related photos.
“She (Black Caviar) was happiest with Luke… her temperament and raceday behaviour was so calm… if a horse and a jockey know what the other is thinking then it is a match made in heaven!”
When asked about the potential of seeing her foal blossom into a champion, Joan said
“I believe if a champion is not over raced, then they will foal a champion, Black Caviar has the best chance to do this.
And after watching Oscietra placing third in her first race on the 2017 New Year’s Raceday, Mrs Walker is sure that the versatility and stamina of Black Caviar will begin to shine through with time and experience…
What do you think makes a champion race horse? Celebrate Black Caviar’s incredible racing career as well as other racing legends on Saturday at Black Caviar, The Great Horse Raceday.