Glen Derrington, left, with Black Caviar. Picture: CONTRIBUTED READY TO GO: Black Caviar in action at Adelaide last month. Picture: GETTY IMAGES
AS the eyes of the world watch champion Australian galloper Black Caviar as she runs before the Queen at Royal Ascot tomorrow, a former Horsham resident will help her on her way.
Glen Darrington, a former apprentice jockey and now barrier attendant, has been flown to England to help the champ feel at home.
While her legion of fans can only look on from afar, Darrington has spent many intimate moments with the mighty mare, helping to calm her nerves before a race.
He first handled Black Caviar when she was an unraced youngster, a million miles from the top hats and tails of Royal Ascot, at a barrier trial at Caulfield.
“From there I never would have thought it would have come to this. It has just snowballed,” he said.
”The whole experience has just been surreal.”
Darrington has helped Black Caviar behind the barriers for all her Victorian starts, with connections requesting special permission for him to travel to Adelaide for her last two Australian starts before leaving for England.
Darrington has an important role before the race, putting the mare on the lead and putting a specially-made blanket on her back to calm her down before loading her into the barrier.
In the past she has been uneasy in the barriers, making Darrington’s role even more important.
“Between Trumby jockey Luke Nolen and myself we have to get the straps on the barrier blanket in place,” he said.
“Once she is in the barrier I give her a pat and tell her that she is special.
“In the whole time I have worked with her I have never had to handle her. I just treat her like a lady.”
He said Nolen was a major reason he travelled to England.
“Trumby said after the Adelaide win that I had to go with the team. It all just snowballed from there,” he said.
Darrington, who flew to England earlier this week, said it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
“To be in England at Newmarket, standing beside Luke Nolen and trainer Peter Moody watching her work – you couldn’t pay enough for an experience like that,” he said.
When asked about Black Caviar’s chances at Ascot tomorrow, Darrington was absolutely convinced.
“She is looking good. When a horse travels over they would usually lose about 30 kilograms; she lost about nine or 10 kilograms,” he said.
Black Caviar will line up in the Group One Diamond Jubilee Stakes at 11pm tomorrow night Australian time. The race will be shown on Channel Seven’s digital channel Seven Mate.
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