Black Caviar continued great legacy of international raiders
Black Caviar’s retirement is a blow to international racing but at least these shores saw the great mare once. Here is a list of five horses who also made the journey to put their reputations on the line at the highest level in Britain and one that has arrived to do just that this summer.
Australian sprinter Choisir arrived at Ascot in June 2003 and left a star after recording the first Royal Ascot sprint double since 1920.
Paul Perry’s son of Danehill Dancer was unconsidered at 25/1 for the Kings Stands Stakes and had to carry the weight of a four-year-old due to the different foaling seasons in the southern-hemisphere, but scored by a length under Johnny Murtagh on the opening day of the meeting.
Four days later, many could not believe that this unheralded raider could repeat his performance but over a furlong further he improved, lowering the colours of the highly-touted Airwave and breakingAscot’s 6f record in the process.
Choisir remained inBritainto contest the Darley Cup where he lost to Oasis Dream and was later to sold to Coolmore for £10m.
Despite being bred in Britain, Ribot was sent to be trained in Italy and began a career that would end unbeaten.
Nicknamed ‘il cavallo super’ meaning ‘the super horse’ trainer Ugo Penco sent his star to post 16 times and ended every contest in the winning enclosure. Victories in all of Italy’s premier races were trumped by consecutive successes in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in 1955 and 1956 by three lengths and six lengths respectively.
In that four-year-old season he dominated the King George at Royal Ascot leading to him being crowned Horse of The Year in England, an accolade that had already been awarded in both Italy and France.
Ribot was syndicated to stud for an unprecedented $1.35m in 1959 and became the leading sire in Great Britain and Ireland on three occasions.
One of only 11 horses ever to have captured the hallowed Triple Crown in the USA, William Woodwood’s charge arrived in Britain for his four-year-old career with an unbeatable reputation.
After winning impressively on his British debut at Kempton he started the Princess of Wales’ Stakes as the 11/8 favourite in a contest billed by the Observer as the ‘race of the century’. The American raider went down by a short head to that year’s Derby runner-up Mahmoud who Omaha had to give 18 pounds to. He was aimed at the Ascot Gold Cup later in the season but was found lame and never raced again.
Following the success of past Australian sprinters Paul Messara’s star went off joint favourite for last year’s Kings Stand Stakes at Ascot.
A disappointing performance there and then a fourth the next month in the Darley July Cup tempered the enthusiasm when he first arrived, but doubts about his ability at the highest level in Britain were only to last until August.
Back-to-back wins in the Group 2 King George Stakes at Goodwood and then three weeks later at York in the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes meant that he captured races at the highest level in three different countries and joined the ranks of his nation’s sprinting legends.
The 2011 Kentucky Derby winner couldn’t manage to keep the Triple Crown dream alive but made up for that and more in scintillating style when capturing the world’s richest race in the Dubai World Cup.
Never out of top-two in any of his 10 starts Graham Motion’s global cash machine has arrived in Newmarket and is bound for Royal Ascot for either the Prince of Wales’ Stakes or the Queen Anne.
He is likely to go off favourite for either of those events and could provide another magical moment in the timeline of international raiders.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.