Black Caviar departs Melbourne
Historic moment as the people’s champion boards a flight bound for London
Modern technology may have been presented a different picture for history than Phar Lap's historic farewell 80 years ago, but Black Caviar's departure from Melbourne Airport on Wednesday night was every bit historic.
Sporting her now famous compression suit, Australia's undefeated champion boarded a Singapore Airlines 747 Cargo Freighter at 11pm (AET) in her modified Air-Stable bound for London with stopovers in Singapore and Sharjah.
Her 30 hour door-to-door journey will be completed when she's floated from London's Heathrow Airport to her UK training base at Newmarket.
“She's something special so we've worked closely with Singapore Airlines and Moody Racing to ensure she gets the VIP treatment,” International Racehorse Transport's (IRT) Chris Burke said from the tarmac.
“The Air-Stable she's travelling in normally accommodates three horses which we call economy class, two horses is business class and one horse is first class. She's flying solo and we've done everything possible to ensure she has a good trip to London.”
As part of the VIP treatment, Black Caviar was loaded through the nose of the plane with the remaining cargo – which included Australian fruit and vegetables being sent abroad – to be unloaded/loaded at future stops via the rear of the plane.
Black Caviar's travelling entourage included Moody Racing's assistant trainer Tony Haydon, track rider Paddy Bell and veterinary surgeon Dr Peter Angus, all of whom have access to the horse whilst the plane is in transit.
On hand to farewell their champion, who will be shooting for win 22 in the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes (1200m) at Royal Ascot on Saturday, 23 June, were proud part-owners Colin and Jannene Madden.
“My heart's pounding. I don't think I've ever been so nervous, yet excited at the same time,” Jannene explained.
Colin said it was the thrill of a lifetime to be embarking on their Royal Ascot assault with the prospect of meeting The Queen, who is scheduled to present the Diamond Jubilee trophy, an added highlight.
“She has taken us on the most unbelievable journey so far and to be here and witness her departure is another chapter in the story,” he said.
“It was amazing to see the workers all stop and pull out their phones to grab a photo of her when she arrived. Everyone loves her and we're so privileged to be a part of it.”
An official travelling party in excess of 150 will converge on Royal Ascot with family and friends joining the Maddens and their co-owners as Black Caviar attempts to become just the second Australian-trained horse to win the Diamond Jubilee.
The Paul Perry-trained Choisir broke new ground for the Aussies in 2003, whilst former Australian sensation Starspangledbanner was victorious in 2010 under the guidance of Irish trainer Aidan O'Brien.
Update – Black Caviar arrived in Singapore at 7am today (AET) having completed the first leg of her journey in a little under eight hours. In pleasing news for all, she coped well with her first air travel experience and is in good order for the remainder of her trip.