- Five-year-old mare Black Caviar extends her winning run to 19 races
- The Peter Moody-trained horse won the Lightning Stakes in her native Australia
- She is currently ranked joint-second on the all-time undefeated list
- Black Caviar could now be bound for Dubai and, eventually, Royal Ascot
Nineteen races and 19 wins. After yet another demonstration of her superiority over five furlongs (1,000 meters), there are few superlatives left to describe the extraordinary record of five-year-old Australian mare Black Caviar.
Unusually for the world's top-rated sprinter, she was made to work for her victory, with long-time rival Hay List sticking firmly to her flank at the furlong marker.
But after a flick of the whip from jockey Luke Nolen, Black Caviar found another gear and pulled away from the field to win the Lightning Stakes at Flemington by one-and-three quarter lengths in front of an ecstatic crowd of 22,800.
"He had me a bit worried for a couple of strides -- I was a little concerned," said Nolen of Hay List.
Saturday's win was Black Caviar's ninth Group One success and the second time the Peter Moody-trained bay has captured Australia's premier sprint race, which is also the first leg in the Global Sprint Challenge.
It also came after she made her debut over seven furlongs (1,400 meters) in the Orr Stakes at Caulfield the previous weekend.
Black Caviar's incredible run puts her equal with Desert Gold (1915 - 1917) and Gloaming (1919 - 1921) for consecutive victories on top-class Australian tracks (other horses have won more consecutive races on low-grade country tracks), although she is the only horse to win 19 without defeat.
She is currently ranked joint-second on the all-time undefeated list; although the run of 54 wins without reply put together by 19th century Hungarian horse Kincsem may yet prove unassailable, even for Black Caviar.
But Australia's favorite racehorse may have run her last race on home soil, for the time being at least, with her trainer conceding that Dubai may well be her next stop en route to the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot in June -- the target for her connections.
"I'll sit down with the owners, but if she goes to Dubai she has probably run her last race in Australia this prep," said Moody.
If, as is widely expected, the lure of Dubai's $2 million Golden Shaheen proves too great a temptation to resist (there is a $600,000 bonus offered as part of the Global Sprint Challenge, rising to $1 million if she can win on three continents), it will mean Black Caviar's 20th race could be her toughest yet, pitting her against Sheikh Mohammed's super colt Sepoy.
It throws up an additional challenge as the race is run over six furlongs (1,200 meters) on a synthetic all-weather track, rather than Black Caviar's preferred turf.
A decision on Dubai is expected to be made in the coming weeks, with Moody having already revealed that Black Caviar has had all her vaccinations for both the Middle East and England.
"There is 10 weeks in between the two races, so that presents a few problems, but I am familiar with the logistics of it all and it's an option we are thinking about. She'd already had all her vaccinations for the trip to England, so that wouldn't be a concern if she was to go to Dubai.''
Number 20 proved a race too far for Black Caviar's spiritual predecessor Zenyatta, the American race mare who was the last horse to put together an undefeated streak of 19 races.
There will be many racing fans both back in Australia and around the world who will be hoping Black Caviar can go one better.