In a massive change of heart the AFL confirmed yesterday they will move a fixture to accommodate the equine wonder that is Black Caviar for Saturday week’s Group One race at Morphettville, The Goodwood.
Why is it a change of heart? Only 2 years ago the AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou was at pains to point out to anyone that would listen that the AFL would not be changing its fixture to accommodate another sport, namely soccer for Australia’s proposal to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
In fairness to the AFL they do not see the racing industry as a direct competitor to the behemoth that they have become. Soccer on the other hand, directly competes for the same hearts and minds of children and their families as the Australian football development programs and marketing teams do.
The move to shift the start of the Adelaide versus Geelong game forward half an hour will allow supporters of the Crows and Cats enough time to leave AAMI park and head to the track to see the mighty mare off on her last run in Australia before taking on the best of Europe at Royal Ascot in June.
Should she win as expected, the crowd at Morphettville which would be expected to top 30,000 again will see her maintain a 100% record from an unprecedented 21 starts, 11 of those at Group 1 level. Black Caviar is simply amazing.
It is worth considering the AFL owed racing leg up as well. The past two Turnbull Stakes days were moved to Sunday, to accommodate the grand final replay in 2010 and the extra bye 17 teams created in 2011 seeing a the grand final be played on the first Saturday in October.
Congratulations to the Adelaide Football Club and South Australian Jockey Club for the initiative, further congratulations must go to the broadcasters, Channel 7 and Fox Footy and a final pat on the back to the AFL for having the flexibility to move the game as well.
If you don’t like racing - take some advice from Molly Meldrum - do yourself a favour on Saturday week. Instead of mowing the lawns, hitting the shops, or getting the next shout in between football matches just stay focused on the screen for an extra 1m12s to watch a legend grow to stratospheric proportions.
Hosting the FIFA world cup is a once in a lifetime event that we all would remember and treasure forever. Right now though, Black Caviar is a once in a lifetime horse and if the might of the AFL, Channel 7 and Fox Sports can change their plans on Saturday week, then you should be able to too.