Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Billy on the Box: Putting the neigh into Ascot’s new neighbour

Huge scary spiders that kill you quite badly, big jumpy animals, dingoes, wee zonked-out bears, Bouncer the Dog and now a horse — Australia’s contribution to the animal kingdom.

Normally any creature is fair game to be chucked on the barbie but Black Caviar is a different kettle of fish, or fish balls in this case, as she arrived, probably with four thongs (that’s flip-flops to you and me) on, to gatecrash the pomp and circumstance of Royal Ascot.

Melbourne’s equine superstar was here to give the Poms a lashing, although not as much as the Aussies got at Stormont on Saturday as Ireland demonstrated why cricket hasn’t become the No.1 sport here with the one-day international.

The ‘one day’ in this case refers to one day we’ll get an international finished here and in the end the unbeatable Black Caviar was to make heavy weather of maintaining her unblemished record.

The BBC’s resident Aussie, Jim McGrath was duly despatched to visit the thunder from Down Under at her temporary home in Newmarket proudly announcing ‘there hasn’t been a sporting icon like her in Australia, certainly not in the last 80 years,” he proclaimed as Shane Warne raised his eyebrows but thankfully his hair remained in place.

Highlights of the day included Clare Balding giving us such gems about Black Caviar like ‘she loves swimming and going to the beach’ and her nickname is Nelly. Either way, those are trunks that are going to be well-filled.

“She’s a big raw filly. I wouldn’t out her in the pretty category, she’s a big girl. Obviously a freak,” added Willie Carson as Clare tried to recover a little of Nelly’s self-esteem by saying ‘she must have incredibly strong bone density and her bones must be heavy — which is an excuse that I always use.”

But make no bones about it, jockey Luke Nolen almost made a horlicks of the whole thing, looking very sheepish among the equines but it didn’t matter a XXXX to trainer Peter Moody who was almost as excited at getting to meet the Queen as winning the Diamond Jubilee Stakes.

“I’m an extremely proud Aussie — the two queens of Australia, maybe?” he pondered as photographers waited anxiously for Black Caviar to end years of animosity by offering to shake hooves, but to no avail.

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