Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Black Caviar's return has Clarke excited

New Year’s Eve 2012. Black Caviar returned to trainer Peter Moody after a stay on Peter Clarke’s Murchison property.

HANNAH DRISCOLL February 15, 2013 4:20am

Black Caviar has already proved she is a champion of the track, but showed her cheeky side to youngster Deakin Jinnette during a stay at Murchison.

New Year’s Eve 2012. Black Caviar returned to trainer Peter Moody after a stay on Peter Clarke’s Murchison property.

And, in an ominous report for those racing against her in tomorrow’s Group One Black Caviar Lightning at Flemington, Clarke reported to Moody he had not sent the champion mare back in better condition than she was on that occasion.

Tomorrow the six-year-old will attempt her 23rd-straight win and become the first thoroughbred to win three Lightning Stakes, in as many years.

This is her first run in Melbourne since winning the Lightning on February 18 last year and it has been renamed in her honour.

She had two more wins at Morphettville before her now infamous win in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 23, after which the possibility of retirement was raised.

Clarke said ‘‘Nellie’’ arrived at Murchison after her stay in quarantine and a month at Moody’s stables in Melbourne

‘‘Her injuries were well and truly in the healing phase and we had her in rehab for a good month and that progressed well,’’ he said.

Clarke said she was scanned while at Murchison and ‘‘the general consensus of opinion was ‘I think we can go again’’’.

‘‘All of us were thinking she would need to be retired, but we were working towards the hope she would recover,’’ he said

‘‘The final conclusion was I was really happy with her.

‘‘The mare was really happy in herself, she was carrying herself well. She was probably the best she’s ever been.

‘‘At that stage, we still had eight weeks before the first of January when she had to be at Moody’s stables to get ready for this race, so it was ‘Okay I think we’re going to have a go’.

‘‘If we weren’t going to go ahead then, she would have been retired and everyone thought that was probably going to be the case.’’

Clarke rebutted claims made last month that said Black Caviar’s weight had ballooned, saying she had shed weight in England and was a ‘‘shadow of herself’’.

‘‘People get confused because she is a very strong mare and all horses have their optimum racing weight and her racing weight is really quite high,’’ he said.

Clarke said Black Caviar was ‘‘in a lovely place herself’’ and predicted she would ‘‘run really well’’.

‘‘Moods is talking about it being her swansong, but everyone’s really cautious of the fact if there’s a little bit of a problem, we have to pull the pin,’’ Clarke said.

‘‘They’re not looking too far ahead, but you would hope she would put this race away nicely and then go on for another couple.’’

Clarke will not be in Melbourne to watch the race and will instead watch from home.

‘‘She’ll run as good on Saturday as she’s ever run and that is just an enormous feeling, an enormous feeling,’’ he said.

‘‘I was talking to Peter Moody the other day, ‘Only five more sleeps, five more sleeps’,

‘‘I haven’t been excited for six months, but now I can’t wait.’’

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