Racing: 'All over, mate' and with that the champ heads away

Luke Nolen riding Black Caviar. Photo / Getty Images
Luke Nolen riding Black Caviar. Photo / Getty Images

It all went fairly cheerfully until Luke Nolen slipped his saddle off the big mare and took a step back and looked at her.

Peter Moody sensed it and put his arm around the jockey's shoulders as the first tears came into Nolen's eyes.

"All over, mate," Moody said.

"Yep," the jockey replied.

With that, Nolen turned and walked away from the horse who he had ridden in 22 of her 25 wins and who for the past four years had been the focus of his working life.

The crowd that had swelled from almost nothing to around 10,000 just before Black Caviar appeared, quietly applauded him, Moody, the owners and their horse.

Black Caviar's last public appearance on a racetrack went about as perfectly as her career.

She walked into the saddling paddock at Caulfield, rolling a bit from side-to-side, turning her head to the crowd and seeming to enjoy it.

Moody, as he generally does, said the right things.

"Have a look at her," he told the crowd.

"Her last run was probably better than her first.

"Thanks for enjoying my little girl."

He then legged Nolen up, they trotted up the straight as Donna Fisher, her strapper and companion and her exercise rider Paddy Bell hugged, and she turned and came back past the winning post.

If there was a slight miscue it was when they tried to bring Black Caviar back into the mounting yard.

She seemed to know something was missing.

She hadn't done what she normally does, she hadn't galloped and she didn't want to come back in until she had.

And she probably never will again.


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