Wonder mare Black Caviar continues to break new ground and on Thursday night she scaled fresh heights by being inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame while still an active competitor.
The six-year-old, which came back to racing in superb style when she smashed a 25-year-old track record on her reappearance at Flemington last Saturday becomes only the second horse in training to be elevated to such lofty status.
While there was plenty of discussion as to whether her predecessor, Sunline, was being prematurely included when she was inducted in the twilight of her racing career in 2002 there will be no debate about Black Caviar's place at racing's top table. She is, quite simply, the biggest star to grace the Australian turf since Phar Lap and her record of 23 successive wins, most in the highest class, is unparalleled.
She was one of four thoroughbred champions to be inducted into the Hall of Fame at a gala function in Melbourne, and one of them could not have been more different.
While Black Caviar is the pinnacle of equine speed, Crisp, that marvellous Australian steeplechaser of the late 1960s and early 1970s, epitomises other heroic equine virtues such as stamina, strength, jumping ability and toughness.
Crisp was a champion in Victoria, but is best remembered for his extraordinary display in the 1973 Grand National over the fearsome Aintree fences in England when he gave National legend Red Rum 10.5 kilos and went down by less than a length after leading for most of the 7200 metres.
Other horses inducted into the Hall of Fame were Victoria Derby, Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup winner Delta, from the early 1950s, and that phenomenally successful stallion Star Kingdom, a sprinter from Britain who sired five Golden Slipper winners as well as several sire sons.
It's likely that Black Caviar will be made a "Legend of the Turf", alongside the likes of Phar Lap and Makybe Diva, and the latest racing great to be so named on Thursday was Carbine, which carried 66 kilograms against 38 rivals to win the 1890 Melbourne Cup. He takes his place as a Legend alongside those two great gallopers and human legends Bart Cummings, Scobie Breasley and Tommy Smith.
Trainers, jockeys and administrators play a key role too, and two riders were added to the Hall of Fame, Geoff Lane and Hughie Cairns. Lane was champion apprentice five times - taking the senior title on the last occasion. Cairns, a Kiwi all-rounder, won Grand Nationals and hurdles as well as the Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup before being killed in a race fall at Moonee Valley in 1929.
The late Bruce McLachlan, a dominant training force in Queensland for 40 years, as well as administrators Albert O'Cass, David Coles and Sir George Julius were also inducted.
O'Cass was a master farrier in NSW who was awarded the Order of Australia in 1999, Coles was a breeder and bloodstock agent as well as chairman of the SAJC in the 1980s , while Julius, an English-born New Zealand engineer, developed the first totalisator, which was installed in Auckland in 1913.
- Sydney Morning Herald
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