Black Caviar makes it 13 from 13

Black Caviar went 13 from 13 at a packed out Doomben today.

There is something in the hearts of Australians that just love a champion nag. Brisbane had been buzzing all week at the prospect of the witnessing the most exciting thing since the Fitzgerald Royal Commission.

I decided it was time to get my kids into an appreciation of horseflesh, empty pockets and a chance at witnessing history. Following on from a brilliant night before where I had jumped for joy with a packed Pineapple Lounge as the Cats got over the Woods, I thought I could succeed at anything. Taking a two year old to the races, no problem.

Considering it had been expected to be the largest racing crowd at a Queensland meet since Gunsynd called it a day, it was odd that Q-Rail decided it would be the perfect weekend to do a spot of rail renovation, closing the Cleveland line to Doomben.

Clem and I would end up taking 2 hours to get to Doomben and she was a trooper the whole way.

Every new sporting contest in Brisbane seems to involve a brilliantly ridiculous security innovation. The latest was the requirement that my two year old wear a fluorescent green wrist band identifying her as a minor, just in case anyone was in any doubt.

Brisbane was basking in a rare sunny day making exhibitionism mandatory. The fashions were a wonderful mixture of the beautiful and the damned, with the damned winning by a street.

Clem and I caught up with the labourer and the Swede at their possy 100meters from the line. The Labourer was putting in an excellent Yonnie Stone effort of continuous losers which I jumped straight into missing on the win and trifecta.

Clem put her first bet on, with a dollar she found. Hoping to “run it up” she put it on a 12-1 shot and lost her shirt.

The mounting yard at Doomben is under a magnificent shade tree and Clem and I spent lots of time talking, hooves, “the beautiful colours on the little boys” and horse names. ‘No you can’t call a horse a person name’.

Can we call it Washing Machine?’

‘Errr sure’

‘Goooo Washing Machine!!’

Like a Cup day the part time crowd are only interested in one race and one horse. As the shadows drew toward 3:30 the celebrations were off and the excitement concentrated the mind and loosened the pockets.

The crowd around the mounting yard was fifteen deep to see the miracle horse walk around in a circle. I had half an eye on Hay List which was I sure would take the biccies if Black Caviar wasn’t completely on her game, she looked calm nodding around the ring.

Hardly anyone will remember Hay List in years to come, but she is the Joe Frazier of horse racing and would have beaten most sprinters in any other era.

In a field which also included last year’s winner, Albert The Fat and Melito (a good roughy I thought).

The bars and chicken-stalls had emptied, packing out the lawns.

In its last few wins Black Caviar has seemed to stall on the turn giving Hay List a look before being run over down the straight. Its this style of winning, I believe which adds to Caviar’s mystique. It gives the punters something to really scream for.

She was paying a little over even by the time the gates were flung open and everyone, EVERYONE had a piece of it.

As she belted down the straight Clem had fallen asleep and not even the enormous roar of a crowd all getting a bit richer could wake her.

There was plenty of daylight between first and second by the end and the feeling of being part history was hard to ignore.

I didn’t bother cashing my winnings. I kept the betting slip and put it in Clem’s history box for when she’s grown.

She was there and she saw what might one day be remembered as the Phar Lap or Carbine of our age.

Rubbing her eyes on the bus on the way home she hugged my arm, gave me a massive grin and said “that was very fun daddy.”

Even better than witnessing history in the making.


About Hamish Townsend

Hamish Townsend was born and raised in Geelong, supports the Cats and lives in Brisbane.


  1. johnharms says

    Enjoyed that, Hamish. You’re dead right about Black Caviar just creating that doubt for a second or two. Moonee Valley. Then one of the Sydney starts and now Doomben. The leader can get away at Doomben (so you can sneak a few wins a la Chief De Beers – who didn’t win at Eagle Farm but won about 16 at Doomben). When she looked to wobble around the turn a bit there was a moment of concern, but she powered from there. I miss those Brisbane tracks. more so Eagle Farm. But I have always enjoyed the Cox Plate meeting at Doomben. And finally, love the idea of the History Box. WE call ours The Archives. Has to be pretty special to make it in to The Archives. JTH

  2. Peter Flynn says

    A Yonnie Stone reference. Magnificent.

    Glad you enjoyed the day Hamish.

    She’s some galloper. And she always gets 2kg off Hay List.

    I wonder what Admiral Rous would think of this.

  3. brother David says

    great horse, brilliant kid

  4. Margaret Regnault says

    Clementine’s maternal great-grandmother would have approved of this early introduction to the races, Hamish!

  5. Alovesupreme says

    Great report, and I hope that accurately conveys what seems like a wonderful day for you and Clemmie.
    Security are to be commended for ensuring that your 2yo daughter was prevented from getting service at the bar; she might have come home under the weather.

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