Australian heroine on a hiding to nothing at Ascot

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THE team behind Australian wonder horse Black Caviar say they have everything to lose and little to gain when the super-filly puts her reputation on the line in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot next Saturday.

Yet to sail even close to defeat in her 21 starts and already revered in her homeland, Peter Moody’s sprinter is to have her first overseas start in the six-furlong Group One where Mick Easterby’s Hoof It will be a leading player.

Control has been the operative word in her much-publicised trip, as she flew in a specially designed compression suit and is monitored constantly.

“There’s nothing for her to add to on top of her record – we know she’s a champion and she’s unbeaten,” said Jeff O’Connor, Moody’s racing manager.

“If she was 17 from 21 maybe we’d be able to enjoy it more with the pressure off but she’s an unbeaten horse. She has been here close to a week now. This was always going to be half the battle, getting a horse that had never travelled over here and have her to settle in without any complications.”

O’Connor went on: “Things can only go wrong, that’s the way we think about it. If she’s beaten, she’s beaten, but we’re not here to be beaten.”

If any further evidence need be required that Black Caviar is a brand, it could be seen in Newmarket yesterday.

Since she touched down, the mare has been appearing on the Heath at sunrise in order to avoid unnecessary scrutiny and attention.

While media access is restricted due to a tie-up with Australian television, she went for a light canter on the all-weather gallop before 5am and was later greeted by a dozen camera crews.

Explaining quite how much she means to those Down Under, O’Connor said: “She got a football game moved back – I don’t think that would happen here – and she interrupted a grand slam tennis tournament one night so they could show the race. Since she has grown wings, everything else has grown with her as well.

“The fan mail floods in, we get countless emails and five and six-year-olds draw her and send in her pictures.”