Black Caviar
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Black Caviar
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Trevor Jones

Black Caviar Makes First Start Since Ascot

The Bel Esprit mare is ready to race following her long layoff.

After nearly eight months since her nail-biting victory at Royal Ascot, undefeated sprinter Black Caviar makes her long-awaited return to competition on Feb. 16  at Flemington in a race named in her honor, the Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (Aus-I).

Seven horses have been entered in the 1,000-meter (about five-furlong) race to face the 6-year-old Bel Esprit mare, who will bid to win a record third straight Lightning and take her untarnished record to 23 wins.

Emerging with torn muscles and ligaments after battling French group I winner Moonlight Cloud for a desperate nose win in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes (Eng-I) last June at Royal Ascot, Black Caviar looked to be on the muscle in a light half-mile workout at Caulfield two weeks ago and a more serious drill Feb. 12 as she prepared to begin the final campaign of her racing career.

"She's in the best physical shape injury wise that she's ever been in," trainer Peter Moody told Australia's Associated Press. "She's worked nicely since the gallop at Caulfield, she's handled everything well."

Lightning challengers include group I winner Moment Of Change and group III winner Golden Archer, both stablemates of Black Caviar; and group II winners Satin Shoes and First Command.