©Healy Racing Photos
Black Caviar delighted her connections with an exhibition gallop in between races at Caulfield on Saturday.
The brilliant mare is building up to her first start since winning the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot in June and her trainer, Peter Moody, expressed his delight to www.racingvictoria.net.au: "What we wanted to see was her happy in this environment. Last time we saw her at Ascot, there's no kidding ourselves, she wasn't. She was off the boil, swishing her tail, turning her head, a bit off in the coat," Moody said.
"You saw here today. She's bright, she's happy, she's healthy, she wanted to be out there.
"I was just pleased to see her out on the track like she belonged there, that's what you wanted to see, there was no negativity in her whatsoever."
The champion racemare completed an exhibition gallop over 800-metres in front of an adoring contingent of fans on her first public appearance since Royal Ascot.
Her regular jockey Luke Nolen was in the saddle and she quickened up over the last 400 metres and looked a bigger and more imposing animal than when she last graced the racetrack.
"The break has done her the world of good," Moody declared. "It scares me a little, but this is the best she's prepped up in a couple of years because we've never had this much spell, this much base to work off.
"The wear and tear that she was suffering in her previous preparations has disappeared. Her feet have grown out nice, her muscles are great and her knees and joints, she's not carrying any heat," he said.
"That will come as the preparation comes on, we're not kidding ourselves, but at this point, off the back of that break, she's feeling the best she has for a couple of years."
There had been rumours of retirement but they have proved premature and stable confidence is growing that there's plenty of life left in her legs, although Moody was diplomatic when discussing what lay ahead during autumn.
"At this point it's a one start campaign and how she performs on that day dictates if and where she goes onto," he said.
That 'one start' is the Group 1 $500,000 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) at Flemington on 16 February, the race she's won for the past two years and that now carries her name in recognition of her record-breaking deeds.
"It will really come down to how she handles that day. If she scrambles in for a win, you'd think s**t the opposition is getting a bit close and I'm sure myself, along with the owners, we'd never want to risk defeat if that's possible, but we're all racing people and we know that happens," Moody said.
"But if she comes out and wins like the Black Caviar of old, by four or five lengths and runs a scintillating time and pulls up kicking her brands off, well then we can start looking at options, but until that happens we'll just concentrate solely on 14 days time."