05/09/2012 11:28AM

Australia: Black Caviar, who runs Saturday in the Goodwood at Morphetville, has admirer in Shirreffs


The undefeated Australian star Black Caviar has a fan in trainer John Shirreffs, a man who knows a thing or two about managing a mare on a winning streak.

Last month, Shirreffs watched on television as Black Caviar stretched her unbeaten streak to 20 races with a comfortable win in the Sportingbet Classic at Morphettville Racecourse, near Adelaide, Australia.

Chances are Shirreffs will be watching again when Black Caviar makes her final start of the Australian season in Saturday’s Group 1 Goodwood Stakes at Morphettville. The race over about six furlongs on turf will be Black Caviar’s last start before she is sent to England for the Royal Ascot meeting next month.

The California-based Shirreffs, of course, trained 2010 Horse of the Year Zenyatta, who won her first 19 starts before she finished second to Blame in the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Classic, her final career start.

Black Caviar and Zenyatta have had racing careers about as far apart as their geographic locations.

Black Caviar is a turf sprinter, who has won at distances ranging from about five furlongs to about seven furlongs. She has been most effective racing just off the pace and pouncing on the leaders in the stretch. A 6-year-old mare by Bel Espirit, Black Caviar has never raced outside of Australia.

Zenyatta ran over distances ranging from seven furlongs to 1 1/4 miles and raced primarily in California on synthetic tracks, though she did win twice on a dirt surface, at Oaklawn Park in 2008 and 2010. Zenyatta was a closer who often did not lead until the final sixteenth, or in some cases, the final strides.

Still, that does not keep Shirreffs from admiring the performances of Black Caviar, particularly her win in the Sportingbet Classic on April 28.

“It was impressive,” Shirreffs said. “I was really impressed with her stride. She had a wonderful way of going.

“What a show of confidence she had. It didn’t look like there was any doubt in her mind who would win. It was like she was saying, ‘When do you want to go.’”

The $500,000 Goodwood Stakes, which has a post time of 2:20 a.m. Eastern on Saturday, has drawn a field of nine. Black Caviar, who is trained by Peter Moody, will break from post 8 under regular rider Luke Nolen. She was the 1-25 favorite as of Wednesday.