Black at her best for Schweppes

Champion sprinting mare Black Caviar is primed to register her 15th consecutive win this weekend

Peter Moody had some bad news for the horses engaged to tackle Black Caviar in Saturday's $300,000 Group 2 Schweppes Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley.

At the Thursday morning media conference that has become customary a couple of days out from each of the unbeaten mare's races, Black Caviar's trainer said she had taken obvious improvement from her first-up win in the Schillaci Stakes and was as good as she has ever been.

“I think her first-up run's brought her on and I'm very pleased with her,” the Caulfield trainer said. “Naturally she's cleaned up in the coat a bit, she's a little bit brighter, she's a bit lighter on her feet and she knows it's game time again.

“I had to probably do a little bit more because the race didn't take a lot out of her, so she's had a couple of nice gallops and it's looking good for Saturday.

“I really think she's coming to the peak of her powers now. She's had no issues physically or mentally, she's in great shape and where previously she's had little niggles here and there, this time around she's 100 percent.”

Moody's report ensures the champion Bel Esprit five-year-old has little trouble accounting for her small field of four rivals and making it 15 wins in a row.

TAB Sportsbet has her at the prohibitive quote of $1.04 with resuming former Australian Horse of the Year Scenic Blast the distance second favourite at $21.

The Tony Vasil-trained Balavan, a winner of seven of his 13 starts, is at $26, Black Caviar's stablemate Doubtful Jack is a $31 chance with Here De Angels, who ran second to Black Caviar in last year's Australia Stakes, the $81 outsider.

Black Caviar thrust herself deeper into the stratosphere of Australian racing's all-time greats in the 1000m Schillaci, when she equalled Phar Lap's career-best winning streak of 14 races, but Moody said he was a lot more relaxed ahead of this weekend's engagement.

“I suppose with the Breakfast With The Best out at Moonee Valley and the Cox Plate, which is what the emphasis should be on because it is our (weight-for-age) championship, we've been given a bit of peace and we've certainly enjoyed it,” Moody said.

There's more than a touch of irony in that with Moody preparing one of the best-backed runners in the $3 million Tatts Cox Plate (2040m), classy mare King's Rose.

The former Kiwi, who has two wins and a narrow Group 1 second from her three starts for Moody, has been backed from $15 into $12 since drawing barrier two on Tuesday and Moody thinks she is as good a chance as any if favourite Helmet struggles at the Cox Plate trip.

“It comes down to the three-year-old, Helmet,” Moody said. “If he's another So You Think, that sort of level of horse who might be just a bit too good for the older horses (he'll win), but if not I really think it's a raffle amongst the rest and I've got a bloody good ticket.”

Full fields for Saturday's Moonee Valley card, which commences at 12.30pm, are available via the link

Headlines