Racehorse Black Caviar dons lycra suit for journey to Ascot

Jun 6, 2012

Australian mare wears special compression suit for 30-hour journey to England

AUSTRALIAN mare Black Caviar, said to be the fastest horse in the world, is travelling to England clad in a state-of-the-art lycra wetsuit in a bid to maintain her unbeaten record at Ascot later this month.

The horse will wear the custom-made compression suit during her 30-hour journey, which includes stopovers in Singapore and Sharjah.

Black Caviar, who has 22 wins in 22 starts since making her debut as a two-year-old in 2009, will run in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes on 23 June and her trainer Peter Moody is determined to make sure she is in top condition.

He told the BBC that the suit was similar to those worn by athletes, including Australia's Olympic 110m hurdle gold medal hope Sally Pearson.

"I thought if it's good enough for Sally Pearson, it's good enough for Black Caviar," he said, and explained: "It's a compression suit that helps generate blood flow."

The suit fulfills the same function as flight socks, beloved of long-haul travellers. Wetsuit designer Matthew Spice, who created the outfit, told the Sydney Morning Herald that the suit would "get blood and oxygen flowing through her body so her legs don't turn to jelly".

Black Caviar is not the first to sport the lycra look. The Melbourne Age says Moody was inspired when he saw another horse wearing one at a meet in Melbourne. "After consultation with his veterinary and chiropractic staff, Moody decided that the neck-to-ankle suit designed by Hidez Australia would be a worthwhile addition to Black Caviar's travel luggage."

The Guardian explains that transporting racehorses across the world can be a risky business. "Horses can lose weight at around 2kg to 3kg an hour during flight and quickly become dehydrated, while conditions such as shipping fever, a form of pneumonia, can develop if not identified and treated," it notes.

The paper reports that Black Caviar should feel at home at Ascot as "a travelling party of several hundred, including owners, supporters, friends, family and racing fans" will be in attendance.

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