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FOR HORSE LOVERS ESPECIALLY

I think it best to do updates ( a couple of them sad to have to report ) all in one area - which is here.

First - two of the Living Legends former racetrack champions, have passed away - one was the beautiful DORIEMUS , and the other just recently, the very popular BETTER LOOSEN UP. At peace now, after spending their retirement years in the very best of good care at Living Legends.

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The great mare, Black Caviar is a twice time Mum - heading for her 3rd 'baby' : her first foal was a filly who is now being prepared to get used to the race-track herself. And her second foal was a colt, and is rising 1 year of age now. Both her progeny ( by two excellent sires ) are worth $ millions. Black Caviars' partnership owners, will forever keep her. I am not sure if they intend to sell any of her progeny. I believe one at least will be kept, by her owners. She is a deliriously happy "Mum" and dotes on her offspring.

Oh - and just by the way !! ... she had 25 wins, from 25 starts. Owners and trainer wept while announcing her retirement. 25 from 25 was all that they believed could be asked of this superb mare.

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The great Makybe Diva triple back-to-back Melbourne Cup Winner - has now had 7 foals since her retirement 10 years ago - and is a good brood mare - although her offspring have not done as much as expected ( from what I have read ).

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A NEW WORLD CHAMPION  ? 

YOU BETCHA !

" BLACK  CAVIAR "

An unusually coloured mare, she has won 16 races from ALL of her 16 starts !

Admittedly, she is a sprinter - of the highest calibre, and has yet to be proven over any further distance than the sprints she has won.  Sprints are short - between 1000  and 1200 metres ( 5 to 6 furlongs).

Black Caviar is  listed as a bay mare, but has unusual 'sprinklings' of black mottle in her coat.   At least that's how she looks on the track via television.  I cannot claim to have seen her in the flesh.  

She is a remarkable speed machine.   Below the first photograph of her here, are some of her physical statistics ... and they are impressive.  

 

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The above photograph shows her with 4-off-the-floor ... and she does look more like a deep chestnut in this photo.   ( I 'borrowed' this from a website - so .... )   
 
The largest percentage of big winners over the decades have been big horses, with big hearts and deep strong chests.    Black Caviar is exceptional in her physical statistics.
 
1)   She is tall - 16.2 hands high.
 
2)  She weighs in at 560 Kg ... the average horse of that
size and breeding (thoroughbred), weighs around 470 Kg.
 
3)  Her hindquarters are massive.   That's where all the
powerful thrust comes from in a racehorse.
 
4)  Her girth is also very big - larger than most.
 
5)  The normal stride of a racehorse of any calibre is 9 metres.
Black Caviar's stride has been measured at 11 metres.
 
6)    Her legs are thick and strong.  
 
SHE IS A BEAUTY.
 
 
 

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Australians absolutely adore this mare. 
 
Wherever and whenever she races, she is followed by a drooling crowd
of punters and people who just attend the racetrack to see her.
 
Many followers bedeck themselves in her colours - pink with large black spots. 
 
Flags are flown in her colours.    She is a legend in her own time.   

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We have had many a famous racehorse born and bred
in this country.  Black Caviar is one of our proudest.
 
She is by Bel Esprit (Aus) out of Helsinge (Aus) and was born and raised at the Swettenham Stud here in Victoria ( I am proud to say )  :)   Always nice to have a champion from one's own home state.
 
This coming Autumn will see her raised in distance - to a middle distance race and her mettle will be tested.   She races in an extraordinarily compact fashion - seeming to drift over the turf at an astonishing rate, and at times it seems she barely touches the ground.   Such is her unique action.
 
:-:-:-:-:
 
How the owners of Black Caviar came to have her, is an interesting story - and rather long - so I won't go into it all.  
 

A group of friends had long spoken of buying a horse together - and when they took the plunge they struck gold.

 

For more than a decade, five families, some from Sydney and others from Melbourne, had gathered at Echuca in Victoria for an annual water-skiing trip. The tradition of enjoying summer at the popular town on the Murray River has gained momentum each year as the families expanded.

In recent years, apart from the water sports, the five couples have talked long and hard about one day racing a horse as a group.   This came to pass when they approached a leading trainer (Peter Moody) who 'found' a good horse for them .... Black Caviar.  

 

Can you imagine how that group feels about their champion mare now.

 

Some dreams really DO come true. 

 

:-:-:-:-:

 
 

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" LIVING  LEGENDS "

I had a birthday on 11th November, 2011.   I won't go into just which birthday it was .... lol  :)   On the 4th day of celebrations, I was treated to a great surprise. 
 
 
On that day [ 14th November ] it was my greatest pleasure to be taken to visit a property outside of Melbourne ( about 1 and 1/4 hours drive for us ),  which is home to former racehorse champions.   They live in quiet splendour as befits their achievements and station in life.    They are so very well cared for.
 
Many Aussie readers would know the names of these champions.   
 
Better Loosen Up
Doriemus
Rogan Josh
Paris Lane
Apache Cat
Might and Power
Silent Witness
 
and many others.
 
To overseas visitors to this website, these names may not mean a great deal .... yet again, they might if the Melbourne Cup, Caulfield Cup and other Group 1 races have been seen by international visitors.
 
It was an absolutely wonderful experience for me - to wander around the paddocks (fields) which now house these happy horses - two to a paddock.   One in particular won my heart, and I dare to say, I just might have won a little of his.  
 
He is "Apache Cat" - a sprinter of extraordinary talent, until he sustained a leg injury which ended his racing career.   Prior to his retirement he won  $4.6 million in stakes money - which was quite a remarkable achievement.  He was not unbeaten like Black Caviar is at present, but he came as close to her achievements as any sprinter has, winning 5 Group 1 races in succession.  He won a total of 11 Group 1 races. 
 
Two of the races he won were back to back  - the 2008  AND  2009 Doomben Ten Thousand, so named when 10 thousand AU pounds was the prizemoney - the richest sprint in Australia at the time.   It now holds a purse of around $700,000 in prize money and is run over 1350 metres (or approx. 6.5 furlongs). 
 
Apache Cat was sired by Lion Cavern (USA) out of Tennessee Blaze (Aus).     Going back in his breeding, one can find some outstanding sires including Secretariat, Northern Dancer, Nijinsky & Nasrullah to name just a few.  
 
He certainly has breeding.   
 
 

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He has - as you can see - most unusual face markings.    His face could almost called 'painted'.  Other thoroughbreds have been known to have baldy faces, or very large blazes but  I don't think Australia has ever had another thoroughbred racehorse that looks quite like the "Cat" ! 
 
:-:-:-: 
 
I emailed  the CEO and Senior Veterinarian there, about how much I enjoyed my visit to "Living Legends" and about my enjoyable 'chat' with Apache Cat after calling 'Cat'  up to the gate.   He kindly replied saying that I was indeed privileged to get Apache Cats' attention as he is not a 'people' horse, and prefers  his own company at Living Legends.   He does love the attention of a big crowd though, as was displayed when he was racing or being shown in special day parades.    
 
It was truly a very special meeting for me and I hope for the "Cat".    Beautiful creature that he is.    

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Waiting at the gate for me - after I had called him over.
 
What a thrill it was to have such a lovely chat with him. 

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.Doriemus, (on the left) was winner of the Caulfield and Melbourne Cup double in 1995, and ranks as one of Australia's best stayers of recent years.   He was an enormously popular horse.


He first came to note on Caulfield Cup day in 1994, and then won the Cups double (Caulfield AND Melbourne Cups)  in 1995, giving Damien Oliver his first victory in the Melbourne Cup.

He is now rising 23 years of age.   Happy and well fed, he obviously enjoys his days at Woodlands Historic Park which is home to the "Living Legends".

 

You can visit the "Living Legends" website on :

http://www.livinglegends.org.au/index.html

It is well worth the visit. 



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Brew (on the right above) is by the great Sir Tristram (Ire) from Horlicks, the champion New Zealand race mare who ran a world record for 2400 metres when she won the Group 1 Japan Cup in 1989. This makes Brew the best bred horse to win a Melbourne Cup since the 2nd World War.
 
He did not however, go on to regain any form after this, and was retired to live out his life at "Living Legends" homestead.  
 
He's a funny old chap.    A bit of a biter - he had several real go's at me - and was told off in no uncertain terms for his trouble.
 
Horses are highly intelligent, and just somehow 'know' when they can get away with a trick or three - - - or not.
 
I decided to try to win his trust by offering him some grass ( like he didn't have enough in his own paddock ? ).   They can be a bit like cats - inquisitive.   My offer and quiet talk to him worked, he behaved himself with ears forward and not laid back in bite mode, and ate the offering.   So I did it again. 
 
I remember thinking how odd it was that he seemed to 'squint' at me and my 2nd offering - a shrewd look it was.   He put his nose over the fence, laid his whole mouth on the grass in my hand, didn't eat it - just stood there - resting his nose, mouth and thus his head heavily on my hand.  We stood there for well over 5 minutes like that.    He blew most of the grass off my hand - and was content to just use me as a cushion !!!   I think he would have been happy to play this little game for a lot longer, if I'd been willing. 
 
Guess who gave up the game first   !!  lol.       
 
 
:-:-:-:-:
 
I didn't get within a bull's roar of the remainder of them (except Apache Cat).   All the other  champs ignored me totally.    :(
 
 

A TRULY "FEEL GOOD"  STORY
 
*****

Can't let the opportunity go by without telling you of the remarkable race the Melbourne Cup turned out to be this year - on the first Tuesday in November (as always).   There was some doubt as to whether it would be run at all because of an outbreak of equine flu in this country, but very strict measures were taken for Victoria, and we were fortunate to be able to go ahead with our Spring Racing Carnival.
 
The race was won in blistering speed and style (at the end of 2 miles), by a horse named Efficient.  He motored home and in my many years of Cup viewing I have not seen a performance quite like it.  Brilliant.   The Cup had prize money this year of  AU $5.2 million.  But in some ways the great event was almost if not absolutely upstaged ...  
 
On the last day of the Spring Carnival there is the running of the Emirates Stakes worth a cool $1 million in prize money. It was won this year by a horse called "Tears I Cry" ... owned by a lady from the Western District in Victoria - a farmer.   In her excited acceptance speech she related the story of how the name had been given to this horse.  She had helped him into the world at 3 o'clock on the morning of his birth, and the way she spoke the mare had some difficulties. Because this lady was so relieved to help this little foal to be born safely, she cried many tears ... and so he was named, Tears I Cry.   It is a wonderful story of a woman who so loves these beautiful animals.  She also had enlisted the help of, and given the chance to, a very young trainer - 26 years of age who choked on his own tears in front of the microphone. Their efforts took endless patience with the horse as apparently he was a bit of a slow learner.     
 
This lady farmer was not from the ranks of the rich and famous.    There wasn't a person in Australia who would have begrudged this lovely lady the win, including all the other horses' connections I would think, and the punters who had lost money on the favourites.   This horse came in at long odds.   Below is a photograph of Tears I Cry passing the post.   The excitement and amazement for the owner and trainer as her beloved horse passed the post first, was something to see.   There wasn't a face anywhere that didn't have the broadest of smiles and yes - a few tears on the cheeks.   

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Photograph "borrowed"  from the
official Melbourne Cup Website
 

The great triple Melbourne Cup winning mare Makybe Diva featured on a page here a few years back, gave birth to her first foal - a little colt.   She is a wonderful Mum and was so proud of her new baby.   And of course, being a sticky beak into everything, the 'Diva' won't let her little one stray too far without checking why.  
 
This is the first picture of the most valuable foal in the southern hemisphere.

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Melbourne Cup champion Makybe Diva's first-born, a bay colt with a white blaze, is estimated to be worth $3 million already.

If he happens to inherit some of his famous mother's racetrack ability, then his value will increase 10-fold.

(thank you to the Makybe Diva website)

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Click on the above snowflake to
refresh your memory about the "Diva"
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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