Black Caviar aims for 22nd straight win at Royal Ascot

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  • Nicknamed “the wonder from Down Under”, can top Australian racehorse Black Caviar extend her unbeaten run to 22?

    “Nelly”, as she’s known at home, is due to run in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot tomorrow (Saturday 23 June, 3.45pm, BBC One).

    The mare is unbeaten in her native Australia and is a global superstar – boasting her own range of memorabilia in her salmon pink and black polka dot colours.

    More than 4,000 Australian racing fans are expected at Ascot to see her run. She’s up against 14 opponents and is currently 1-3 favourite.

    But what else is there to know about this five-year-old 16.2hh thoroughbred mare by Bel Esprit out of Helsinge? Part-owner Pam Hawkes tells H&H more…

    What’s she like as a horse?

    “She’s lovely and is very laid back. Before a race she’s virtually dozing and I often think she’s so casual she can’t possibly wake up enough to win. But she’s all business once she’s on the track. At home her best friend is a goat called Billy, who she lives with when she’s out in the field She’s very gentle and has a sweet temperament, but she’s definitely the boss. She likes being out with her friend, but she goes out less as she gets older. She has a bit of a weight issue – she’s such a good doer she’d be like “Ten-Tonne Tessie” in a flash if you let her. [She weighs more than Denman aka “The Tank”].”

    What’s the story behind her name?

    “Black Caviar is pretty classy stuff, and she’s a pretty classy mare. It was very democratic – we all submitted names and my suggestion was chosen. She’s out of a mare called Helsinge, a place in Denmark. And Helsinge’s out of a mare called Scandinavia, who was out of Song Of Norway. Going along those lines, sturgeon and salmon swim in the cold water around Scandinavia to lay their eggs, so Black Caviar seemed apt. The name epitomises quality.”

    How does it feel to own her?

    “We’re amazed byher every time she runs. I wouldn’t swap her for the world – she’s the best thing that’s ever happened to us. And the supports she’s received is wonderful. She’s not just our horse – she’s Australia’s horse.”

    Read more about Black Caviar in our Firsts & Lasts feature in the current issue of H&H (21 June, 2012)

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