Which jockey rode Black Caviar at Royal Ascot?
For the uninitiated, Black Caviar was an undefeated racehorse trained by Peter Moody in Melbourne, Australia. The daughter of champion Australian sire Bel Esprit was retired, as a six-year-old, on April 17, 2013, immediately after winning the fifteenth Group 1 race of her career, the TJ Smith Stakes at Royal Randwick Racecourse, Sydney. In so doing, she set a new Australian record for Group 1 wins and brought to a close a perfect 25-25 career, stretching back four years to April 18, 2009 at Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne.
In June, 2012, raced for the one and only time outside Australia, in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot. Defending a 21-21 record, she faced 13 rivals in the 6-furlong contest, but was nonetheless sent off at prohibitive odds of 1/6 to maintain her 100% record. She was ridden, as she had been for all but three of her previous starts, by experienced Australian jockey Luke Nolen.
Having taken the lead inside the final quarter of a mile, Black Caviar only had to be pushed along with hands and heels to take command inside the final furlong but, inexplicably, in the shadow of the winning post, Nolen stopped riding altogether. His over-confidence allowed the hard-driven Moonlight Cloud, ridden by Thierry Jarnet, to press Black Caviar, before he realised his error and started pushing along again close home.
Thankfully, for Nolen and anyone who laid the odds, Black Caviar just held on to beat Moonlight Cloud by a head with another French-trained runner, Restiadargent, just a neck further back in third place. Nolen accepted the blame for his narrow escape, saying, ‘I probably just underestimated the testing track at Ascot’, but adding that he had ‘got away it’. Moody echoed the latter sentiment, but defended Black Caviar, saying, ‘You only have to win by a quarter of an inch. She got the job done.’