Australia’s sprint queen Black Caviar once lit up the winter carnival and it’s remarkable to think that a decade later Queensland racing fans could witness a horse draw level with her number of Group 1 wins.
The legendary Black Caviar captivated Queenslanders when she won the 2011 BTC Cup with fans cramming every Doomben vantage point to witness her win her 13th consecutive race during her unbeaten 25-race streak.
While Kiwi mare Melody Belle is no Black Caviar, the winter carnival-bound mare can now be talked about in the same breath.
That’s because Melody Belle has won 14 Group 1s and if she snares another one in the Doomben Cup it will draw her level with Black Caviar’s 15 wins at racing’s elite level.
One way or another Melody Belle will be a focus coming into the carnival as her career goes full circle.
Retirement is looming but her return to Queensland will be a return to where she first made a name for herself on Australian shores with her devastating romp in the Group 2 Sires’ Produce at Eagle Farm in 2017.
Jockey Opie Bosson rides Melody Belle to victory in the 2019 Empire Rose Stakes at Flemington. (AAP Image/Michael Dodge)Source:AAP
But she is just one of the cavalcade of equine stars bound for the Queensland carnival.
Another horse who has raced in Queensland before but has gone to the next level is Nature Strip who will be one of the headline acts.
The captivating sprinter has now won six Group 1s but when he was last in Queensland, finishing fourth in the 2019 Doomben 10,000, he had one.
Let’s also not forget some of the quirky characters coming for the carnival – such as Nettoyer, the two-time Group 1 winner who loves nothing more than celebrating a big race win by scoffing down a pizza and champagne.
Then there’s So Si Bon, the reformed bad boy who once used to delight in taking a bite out of his opposition during a race.
Last year’s Australian Cup winner Fifty Stars and All-Star Mile winner Mugatoo are also eyeing off carnival riches.
All the while the Queenslanders will be trying to knock them off and keep the big prizes at home.
One of the banana benders who will capture attention is The Harrovian, who developed a cult following when winning 11 straight races and then went to Melbourne and ran out of his skin when finishing fifth in the All-Star Mile.
Nettoyer, with trainer Wendy Roche, enjoys a slice of pizza before a race. Picture: Toby ZernaSource:News Corp Australia
More will soon be known about the winter carnival horsepower but the Brisbane Racing Club’s general manager of racing and partnerships Matt Rudolph reports there is bumper interest from big southern stables.
“There’s definitely a heightened interest from southern stables this year in comparison to 2019 (the last full Queensland winter carnival) and requests for stabling have come much earlier from the leading trainers,” Rudolph said.
“It’s always hard to point to specific race winners this early as Brisbane has traditionally been the nursery of future champions.
“For instance the wraps on boom young horse Ayrton are glowing and Mick Price has had the Tab Stradbroke on his radar for some time, so Stradbroke Season may be where he announces himself on the big stage.
“With the uplift to $1 million for the Tab Doomben 10,000 we attracted horse of the year Nature Strip while All-Star Mile winner Mugatoo may find his way here for the Doomben Cup and $1.2 million Q22.
“The positioning of the Q22 on Stradbroke Day adds to the cumulative prizemoney on offer for the Derby and Oaks contenders as well which will lift the quality of those races and equally the same for the Sires Produce and JJ Atkins for two year olds which are both at $1 million.
“I’m looking forward to seeing the leading interstate jockeys back here such as Kerrin McEvoy, Hugh Bowman, Jamie Kah, James McDonald, Tommy Berry and Willie Pike to name a few. “
Originally published asReal horse power headed to QLD for the winter
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