Black Caviar was an exceptional Australian racemare who retired from racing undefeated in 25 races between 2009 and 2013. Fifteen of her victories came at Group 1 level, beating the record previously held by compatriot, and former Australian Champion Racehorse of the Year, Kingston Town, who won 14 Group 1 races, including the W.S. Cox Plate three times, between 1979 and 1982.
By Bel Esprit – and hence from the family of Royal Academy, Nijinsky and Northern Dancer – out of an unraced dam, Helsinge, Black Caviar was owned by a syndicate that included Gary and Kerryn Wilkie, Colin and Jannene Madden, Neil Werrett, Pam Hawkes and David and Jill Taylor and trained, in Melbourne, by Peter Moody. Her name was derived from that of her granddam, Scandinavia, where people have a predilection for fish eggs, including salmon roe or, in other words, salmon or red caviar. Her racing colours – salmon with black spots – were a natural progression of the same idea.
The closest Black Caviar came to defeat was on the one and only occasion she raced outside Australia, in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2012. Sent off at prohibitive odds of 1/6, Black Caviar took command inside the final furlong under hands and heels riding only for jockey Luke Nolen to ease down prematurely in the closing stages, allowing Moonlight Cloud to close to within a head as the pair flashed past the post. Nolen said afterwards, “I didn’t mistake the winning post. I just tried to let her coast home and she stopped under me, but I got away with it. I didn’t ease her down.”
Having narrowly avoided calamity at Ascot – where trainer Peter Moody conceded she was below par – Black Caviar returned to Australia and didn’t race again until the following February. When she did, though, she won the Black Caviar Lightning at Flemington, the William Reid Stakes at Moonee Valley and the T. J. Smith Stakes at Randwick – all Group 1 contests – with consummate ease, at long odds-on, before her eventual retirement from racing, as a six-year-old, in April 2013.