Finally some competition for Caviar


Sportingbet Australia chief executive Michael Sullivan says some punters are finally backing one of Black Caviar’s rivals to upset the glamour mare in Saturday’s Group I Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington.

Favourite backers hammered bookmakers when Black Caviar strolled home in the Lightning Stakes. Sullivan said the Peter Moody-trained mare has had plenty of support at her short quote but a groundswell of backing has arrived for the Danny O’Brien-trained three-year-old Star Witness.

Black Caviar beat Star Witness by four lengths at weight-for-age in the Group I Patinack Farm Classic (1200m) in the spring. The colt will meet the four-year-old mare 2kg better at the weights in the Newmarket.

Sullivan said some punters believe Star Witness could make up the ground on Black Caviar on Saturday, backing the son of Starcraft from $17 into $14.

“One punter backed Star Witness to win $40,000 before Wednesday’s barrier draw which is unlikely to have a huge impact on the market,” Sullivan said.

“He is a multiple Group one winner that is proven down the straight so there is plenty to like about him.”

Sullivan said the early money for Black Caviar has ensured the daughter of Bel Esprit would be the bookmaker’s worst result but Sportingbet Australian was bracing itself for a huge payout.

“Punters have just been filling their boots thanks to Black Caviar and I have no doubt they will try to do so again in the Newmarket,” Sullivan said.

“The way she won the Lightning, it is near impossible to see how she will be beaten but we won’t have any choice in the matter, we will stand her for a fortune again.”