There was something not quite right last Friday night when one of the female part-owners led in the mighty Black Caviar at Money Valley. The fact the woman looked about as comfortable as an Obeid in an ICAC hearing and looked as stupid as made me wonder. Is it about the horse?
I know owners stump up great amounts of cash to dream of the ‘one’. I know that when a two y.o has its first start at Armidale or Echuca there are a lot of blokes in tight-fitting jackets who haven’t slept the night before. They have been on the phone to their mates spreading the word that the trainer “thinks we might just have something special here”. Inevitably they go to bar early and disappointed with homilies of ‘that’s racing’ or ‘needs more distance’. Sadly greater distance will not bring greater objectivity to the owner’s assessment of the horses performance.
Black Caviar, a big filly by Bel Esprit was purchased by Peter Moody at the Melbourne sales for $210,000. So this was not a conveyance by Drongo out of Pear Shape. It was one that could only be purchased with a fair bit of Harry Nash. So along came Neil Werrett and his substantial band of very merry men and women and good luck to them for making a large investment in the four-legged lottery. Werrett wasn’t a new chum here either he’d had a few nags with Moods before.
On 19 April 2009 16-year-old apprentice Jarrad Noske rode Caviar to a commanding first win in a 2 yo Handicap at Flemington and then to a further win next start. But for whatever reason Noske was brushed and Happy Hands Luke Nolan took over. I’m not sure what happened but I wonder whether the owners and trainer of Miracles of Life went through the same assessment process when they stuck with the unfashionable Lauren Stojakovic as hoop in the Blue Diamond at Caulfield? I’d like to think Jarrad was suspended or injured at the time. But that’s fine – senior jockey and all that – an owner’s prerogative. You pay the loot you can boot.
But I’ve put that to rest now only to wake up this morning to find in the Daily Dread that the Cav Crew now want free tickets with trimmings at the building site at Randwick for the Cranky Smith Stakes. Neil’s been busy because the hord has grown substantially and he wants 220 free tickets and enough champagne to fill Warragamba. It’s a bit sad really because reading between the lines the Cav Crew are obviously down to their last penny if they need to stitch up the ATC. Just shows what a GFC can do to smart money doesn’t it?.
So if the Cav Crew do have the arse out of their trousers and culottes then they can certainly put on a brave face. They seemed to be just fine on Friday night as they talked up top hats and morning suits at Ascot again and wanting to chat with Moods about another overseas jaunt. Apparently Neil Werrett was in fine spirits too at a private function on the night as he put mustard on the Sydney/Melbourne debate by saying that Sydneysiders just didn’t appreciate Black Caviar.
Well Cav Crew – we’d love to be able to appreciate Black Caviar but you are taking close to 1% of the bloody tickets. The building site at Randwick isn’t at full capacity yet and you are not helping. Your marquee is also taking up space that would be more usefully occupied by a pluto pup stand or a tarot card reader (Don’t sneer Neilo, we all need help in the last!)
But it’s probably the talk of another trip to Ascot that gets on my goat the most. I can forgive greed as I love to get to the bottom of a terrific trough myself. I would like to think it was too much of the rum rumble on Friday night that led to the Cav Crew talking up a second tilt at Ascot. One only had to see the poor mare in the Ascot parade ring last time to see that she wasn’t happy. Who would be? Anyone would resent being leered at by a bunch of chinless toffs dressed up like undertakers. She busted her gut to win despite Happy Hands and she deserves not be put through the draining rubber suit experience again.
There is an old racecourse adage that says nothing improves a horse’s performance like ownership but that owning a horse doesn’t necessarily improve an owner. Let’s hope for Black Caviar’s sake there is improvement in both.