- Can Australian race horse Black Caviar extend unblemished winning streak to 25?
- Will race in Sydney's TJ Stakes this Saturday, in clockwise direction
- Will be only the fourth time Melbourne mare has run in clockwise direction
- Future career depends on performance, owners contemplate Britain's Royal Ascot
It may seem counter intuitive. But sometimes you've got to go backwards to go forwards.
So it goes for arguably the world's greatest race horse, who will attempt to extend her remarkable undefeated winning streak this weekend -- by running in the opposite direction.
When Australian champion thoroughbred, Black Caviar, tries to rewrite the record books yet again in her 25th race at Sydney's TJ Smith Stakes Day on Saturday, it will be in a clockwise direction -- as is the norm for the New South Wales state.
But it will be a change of pace for the Melbourne mare, better used to racing in an anti-clockwise direction in her native Victoria.
A strange Australian tradition means horses race either left or right, depending on which state they're in -- clockwise for New South Wales and Queensland, and anti-clockwise for Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia.
This will be just the fourth time the superstar six-year-old -- worth $7.5 million in prize money -- will have raced clockwise, and co-owner Colin Madden admitted it presented the biggest challenge to her undefeated winning streak.
"It does take time for her to settle in, running in the reverse direction," Madden told CNN. "So that's our biggest concern. But I still can't see any horse catching her."
Since demolishing the field in her first major win at the Danehill Stakes in 2009, an air of mystique has followed world champion thoroughbred.
The wonder mare, who even has her own Twitter handle, has not just won all 24 of her races -- with the exception of Britain's Royal Ascot she has won them by staggering margins, destroying world-class fields to become one of the top-rated race horses on the planet.
Her unblemished record is the second highest of all time, trailing behind only Hungarian horse Kincsem, which apparently took 54 races in the late 1800s.
Black Caviar's remarkable career has elevated her to celebrity status in Australia, where she was named Sportswoman of the Year, graced the cover of Vogue, and launched a best-selling biography.
And when she hits Randwick Racecourse on Saturday, there's no doubt the nation will be cheering her on to what bookmakers are tipping will be her 25th consecutive win.
"They've restructured the day so that the race runs after 5pm -- that way it will be shown on TV," Madden said.
"Black Caviar is the feature of the day. But luckily she doesn't know how much pressure is on her to win -- we're the ones who feel it, not her."
The last time Black Caviar raced in a clockwise direction was at Britain's Diamond Jubilee Stakes, winning by the narrowest of margins in a heart-stopping finish.
It was later revealed she had muscle strain in her legs which would put her out of action for eight months.
Britain, like Australia, holds races in both directions, while the U.S. opts for counter-clockwise competitions.
Madden didn't rule out another trip to Ascot for the magnificent mare, saying plans for future races would depend on her performance on Saturday.
Beyond the track, Black Caviar may also have a profitable career as a breeding mare, with Madden hinting champion British thoroughbred, Frankel, could be a good match.
Frankel, who wrapped up his stellar career in the Champion Stakes at Ascot with an unblemished 14-win record, has now been put out to stud -- with big returns expected for owner Saudi Prince Khalid Abdullah.
"Frankel is definitely in the mix," Madden said.
"He's an extraordinary horse and it could be a wonderful match -- but nothing's been decided and it's something we're still assessing."