Superstar mare Black Caviar will put her unbeaten record on the line in the $400,000 William Reid Stakes (Aus-I) March 22 at Moonee Valley Racecourse and bid to equal the great Kingston Town's record tally of 14 Australian group I wins.
The 6-year-old Bel Esprit mare, the world's top-rated sprinter, will be making her second start off a more than seven-month layoff after launching a stunning comeback Feb. 16 with a track record-setting victory in the Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (Aus-I) at Flemington.
Kingston Town's record, achieved in the early 1980s, includes an unprecedented three W. S. Cox Plate victories (1980-82). The world record for graded or group I wins on the flat is 16, also accomplished in the early 1980s by two-time North American Horse of the Year John Henry.
Black Caviar's trainer, Peter Moody, was recently hospitalized with blood poisoning but said he is in fine fettle now and looking forward to the 1,200-meter (about six-furlong) William Reid. He will wrap up her final preparations Tuesday.
"I'm back on the tools again," he told The Australian. "She's well and will do some fast work on Tuesday to have her right for Friday night."
Regular rider Luke Nolen has the mount on Black Caviar, who will break from post six. Moody also will send out Karuta Queen, a group III-winning Not A Single Doubt mare.
The field also includes Western Australian standout Luckygray, a multiple group I winner; Queensland stakes winner Spirit Of Boom, who was third in the Oakleigh Stakes (Aus-I) Feb. 23 at Caulfield; progressive miler Fawkner, who has won at the group III level; and former Hong Kong Horse of the Year Good Ba Ba.
Good Ba Ba will make his fourth Australian start following an absence of 20 months and is seeking his first victory in three years since taking the 2009 Hong Kong Mile (HK-I).
Caulfield-based trainer Ricky Hore-Lacy now conditions the 11-year-old Kentucky-bred Lear Fan gelding, who was Hong Kong's Horse of the Year in 2008 and champion miler in 2008 and 2009. His Australian campaign began in January with promising fourth-place finishes in a pair of sprint stakes at Flemington, but he was ninth of 13 runners going a metric mile in the Carolyn Cup (Aus-III) Feb. 9 at Caulfield in his most recent effort. His main goal this season is the Doncaster Mile (Aus-I) April 20.
Multiple group II winner Linton, who makes his first start since finishing unplaced in the Cox Plate last October, rounds out the field.