Trainer Peter Moody has been told to expect overwhelming interest from the English media and public when his champion mare Black Caviar arrives at Ascot next month.
One of Australia's foremost owners, Terry Henderson, phoned Moody on Saturday night and told him that on his recent trip to England and France, racing people were clamouring for information about the fastest horse in the world, which scored her 21st consecutive win on Saturday.
''I told Peter he should in no way underestimate the following that will confront him when he arrives in England,'' Henderson said. ''Not even Makybe Diva, who won three Melbourne Cups, attracted anywhere near the attention this mare has. Takeover Target, probably because of the novelty element of its rags-to-riches background, gained some support, but at every dinner party all they want to know is how good is Black Caviar.''
It's understood the British Horseracing Board has already received 750 applications from Australians seeking accreditation for the Royal Enclosure with another 500 expected in the next few weeks.
So strong has the demand been that the board has appointed a person to handle Australian inquiries.
''And the French are just as keen,'' Henderson said. ''When I was there last and the word got out that I was an Australian, I kept being quizzed about just how good is this mare. They've produced a two-minute video on her, which is quite spectacular. Anyone on the Black Caviar team who thinks the hype and hysteria is restricted to Australian shores, forget it. She seems just as big there as she does here.''
Racing officials in England are also bracing themselves for thousands of Australian and New Zealand backpackers touring Europe who could also descend on Ascot next month.
''It's done so much for our industry and it also whets the taste buds of trainers who have never been Down Under with a runner in the Melbourne Cup to now take the plunge and be part of it,'' Henderson said.
On Saturday, 30,000 patrons connected with horse racing when they squeezed into Morphettville racecourse in Adelaide to see Black Caviar amble to the post for her 21st successive win, in the group 1 Goodwood.
Last night, Black Caviar left for Melbourne and was expected home early this morning, to be prepared for her English assignment.
However, Moody warned that Black Caviar would not attempt the trip unless she was 100 per cent fit and healthy for the long haul to England.
-Sydney Morning Herald