Black Caviar runs Lightning Timeform 135
Only the great racehorses can overcome such adversity and that is what we witnessed...
The records keep tumbling for unbeaten champion sprinter Black Caviar after she reached a new milestone in the Lightning Stakes down the Flemington straight on Saturday, but according to Timeform's Gary Crispe, she had to be at her very best to achieve it.
History and statistics were stacked against the great mare dropping back 400m in distance at Group 1 level in the space of seven days, however, that did not stop her equalling the Australasian record currently held by Desert Gold and Gloaming on 19 consecutive wins.
Further, no horse in Australian racing history spanning back almost 200 years has achieved an unbeaten run of 19 wins on metropolitan racecourses.
The win also puts her into second place on the global list of consecutive wins for unbeaten horses, an honour she now shares with US galloper Pepper's Pride.
Black Caviar renewed her rivalry with classy sprinter Hay List, which resumed from a long spell and, unlike most of her recent races, he ensured it was solidly run race from the jump.
There is little doubt today's race was no exhibition gallop with pressure being applied throughout. The final race time of 55.53 seconds was just 0.03 seconds outside of Special's long-standing record set in 1988 with the last 600m timed at 31.82 seconds.
Black Caviar jumped smartly and led early with Hay List racing on the stands side of the mare, the entire field tracking down the centre of the track. Black Caviar handed up the front running to Hay List sitting inside that galloper until the 200m before being asked to quicken.
However, Hay List had already began to increase the tempo putting the 600 to 400m sectional away in a blistering 10.04 seconds (19.92mps) and then the 400m to 200m in 10.43 seconds (19.17mps), clearly in an attempt to pressure the great mare mid-race.
As she so often is, Black Caviar was equal to the task, quickening to 9.98 seconds (20.04mps) from the 600m to the 400m and then 10.40 seconds (19.23mps) from the 400m to the 200m where she joined Hay List in the lead. But when it appeared he would make a real race of it, those two 200m sectional splits came back to hurt Hay List and he had no answer to Black Caviar from the 200m as she asserted her superiority yet again.
But it was not easy for her.
It was one of the few occasions that Nolen has had to pull the whip.
It is probably not possible to run in-race sectionals much faster than that and Black Caviar will certainly know she has been in a race after today. You sensed that for the first time Luke Nolen may have got to the bottom of Black Caviar, at least for a short time.
Black Caviar has now won the G1 Lightning Stakes twice in succession. In fact, she and Hay List have quinellaed the race both years. Black Caviar becomes the sixth horse in Lightning Stakes history to win the feature in successive years joining Sky High (1961/2), Wenona Girl (1963/4), Maybe Mahal (1977/78), River Rough (1984/5) and Schillaci (1992/3).
In assessing the merit of the win, the post-race analysis points to her equalling her career-best Timeform rating of 135.
There is no doubt about the form lines of those that finished behind her including a predominantly injury free Hay List (five meetings now for four seconds) and the consistent Buffering (three meetings for two seconds and a third).
The Timefigure Analysis on an improving racing surface also underpinned a 135 rating.
It is not surprising she has run to her master Timeform rating. This was not a straightforward race for her particularly at this stage of her campaign, being essentially an "afterthought".
Only the great racehorses can overcome such adversity and that is what we witnessed, but in the process Black Caviar was pushed close to the limit of her ability to execute another clinical victory.