Superstar Australian racemare Black Caviar has been named Racing Personality of the Year, the first time a horse has won the award.
Black Caviar joins the ranks of racing industry luminaries including trainers Bart Cummings, a five-time winner; Irishman Dermot Weld; race caller Bill Collins; and Makybe Diva owner Tony Santic, who are all past recipients of the award, voted on by members of the Victorian Racing Media Association.
She achieved this feat after gaining more votes than her trainer Peter Moody and regular jockey Luke Nolen. Jockey Craig Williams and Queensland trainer Rob Heathcote were also in the running for the prestigious award.
The owners of Black Caviar attended the function and on behalf of the group, Col Madden said they were delighted to see Black Caviar acknowledged with such a prestigious award.
“What we have come to learn is that as much she is our horse as owners, she is the people and industry’s horse and we are just the lucky ones in the racebook,” he said.
He indicated the mare was likely to return to racing, chasing win number 23 in the Black Caviar Lightning at Flemington on February 16, with a farewell tour well on the drawing board. The Victoria Racing Club renamed the race – formerly known as the Lightning Stakes – in honour of Black Caviar, who has won the past two editions of the event.
A second owner, Pam Hawkes said initial racing plans were focused on the Melbourne Festival of Racing, before a possible trip to Sydney and Brisbane.
“As always she will tell us and we will be guided by Peter Moody but she doesn’t have to do any more for anyone,” she said.
Earlier this month Black Caviar was named the winner of the sprint category at the Cartier Awards – Europe’s equivalent of the Australian Racehorse of the Year awards.
Black Caviar, who took her record to 22 wins from as many starts in the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes on the final day of the Royal Ascot Carnival, defeated fellow Aussie mare Ortensia, Diamond Jubilee runner-up Moonlight Cloud, Mayson and Wizz Kid for the award.
The famous mare is now also a cover girl, and features on the front of Vogue Australia’s December edition.
It is the first time a horse has graced the cover in the magazine’s 53-year history.
Vogue’s cover girls have included Oscar-winning actors, supermodels and princesses, but there has never been so much interest in a cover before. It was impossible to keep secret and Vogue brought the on-sale date forward to November 2 because the leaks couldn’t be contained.
Black Caviar (known at home as “Nelly”) was photographed by young Australian photographer Benny Horne in the foothills of the Dandenongs in a purpose-built outdoor studio alongside the thoroughbred of Australian modelling, Julia Nobis. For the recent Paris fashion week, Julia appeared in 23 catwalk shows, just one more than the 22 races Black Caviar has won.
On the cover Julia wears a bespoke Alexander McQueen gown, which is so valuable it is captioned “price on application”.
Inside, Vogue features the women of Black Caviar’s syndicate in designer gear. In the shoot inside, which features portraits of Nelly and her all-powerful hindquarters, Julia wears black and white evening wear.
In her editor’s letter in the magazine, Vogue editor-in-chief Edwina McCann says: “Black Caviar certainly knows when the lens is focused on her, and it’s terrific to celebrate her beauty, rather than just her speed.”