Defeat not an option for Black Caviar
BLACK CAVIAR'S team admit they have everything to lose and little to gain when the great Australian mare stakes her reputation in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot.
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.
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. Pete will be here in 24 hours, but the boys here and those at home have done a magnificent job.
"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 added: "Things can only go wrong, that's the way we think about it. If we can take everything that's in our control and cover that then we've done our best. 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 for her morning constitutional at sunrise in order to avoid unnecessary scrutiny.
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 and a similar amount of photographers and journalists on her return to Abington Place Stables.
Explaining 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 she has got, we get countless emails and five and six-year-olds drawing her.
"We've had to turn a few people down -- there were requests from one or two high-profile (female) television stars. Our horse has a big rear end and I think the idea was to line her up next to one of these people for a picture.
"About 18 months ago we put in a few steps to allow our stable to mainly train her and everything else would be taken away from us.
"Merchandise is a lot, and a lot is about not taking advantage of her."