HE THINKS AND WRITES LIKE A NOVELIST
represents, or attempt to rationalise, quantify and classify. This book sings along because Whateley has mostly opted for the former. His is always a human voice, intelligent and relaxed, telling a story in prose that, like the horse he is writing about, lifts the spirit. And the photographs, particularly those of Bronwen Healy, complement the words sublimely.
Whateley’s book is authorised by the mare’s connections; Andrew Eddy’s The Story of Black Caviar is not, but it doesn’t suffer because of this.
Eddy, the chief racing writer for The Age, has departed from a conventional narrative. Each of the 22 chapters is devoted to one of Black Caviar’s wins.
Woven through the chapters are sidebars crammed with facts and statistics that flesh out the story by touching the things that didn’t happen on a racecourse, which are often the more interesting things.
We learn, for instance, that Black Caviar shares a spelling paddock with a bossy goat called Billy that looks to have never missed a lunch, and that the mare’s stride is about 2m longer than that of the average racehorse. The book reads well despite its unusual format. It’s the time of the year when even once-a-year punters take doubles. You could do worse this spring than couple up Whateley with Eddy.