10/05/2011 3:25PM

Black Caviar returns, goes for 14 in a row


Black Caviar, unbeaten in 13 starts and Australia’s reigning Horse of the Year, will be an overwhelming favorite to win her first start since May in the Group 2 Schillaci Stakes at Caulfield, Australia, on Saturday.

Black Caviar is the star attraction on a nine-race program that features three Group 1 races, including the Caulfield Guineas. Trained by Peter Moody, Black Caviar has been in serious training for a month in preparation for the Australian season.

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“She’s always had those little niggles, and there has been a few question marks in the past, but she has really grown into a big, strong mare,” Moody told the Herald-Sun newspaper. “She is more mature, physically and mentally. I think she has improved.”

In her last start, Black Caviar won the six-furlong BTC Cup At Doomben by two lengths.

Black Caviar is a standout in a field of nine in the Schillaci Stakes, the only entrant with a group stakes win. The race is worth approximately $192,800.

Aside from Saturday’s race, Black Caviar is nominated to the Group 2 Schweppes Stakes at Mooney Valley Racecourse on Oct. 22 and the Group 1 Patineck Farm Classic at Flemington Racecourse on Nov. 5, a race worth approximately $961,000 and run over about six furlongs.

In Saturday’s Caulfield Guineas over about a mile, Manawanui will be favored to win his fourth consecutive group stakes. A gelding trained by Ron Leemon, Manawanui, by the Irish-bred Oratorio, has won 5 of 6 starts in his career, including the Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes over seven furlongs last month. The Caulfield Guineas is worth $961,000.

One of Manawanui’s main rivals in the field of eight is Helmet, who was third in the Golden Rose Stakes and rebounded to win the Group 3 Guineas Prelude at Caulfield on Sept. 24.

The top race for older horses on the program is the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes over about 1 1/4 miles on turf. Worth approximately $385,600, the Caulfield Stakes is led by Whobegotyou, a 6-year-old gelding by Street Cry, who won a Group 2 race in August and was second in a Group 2 race last month.

The Group 1 Toorak Handicap over about a mile includes Toorak Toff, winner of the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes over about a mile at Caulfield on Sept. 24.