Luke Nolen will approach tomorrow’s Group 1 $1m Darley T J Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick the same as any other race after suggestions local jockeys will apply extra pressure to Black Caviar as she heads towards her twenty-fifth straight victory.
Nolen is aware of the talk in Sydney that Black Caviar hasn’t really been tested at her two most recent runs when the mighty mare ran a track record in winning her third straight Group 1 $500,000 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) at Flemington on February 16.
And then Black Caviar stepped out at Moonee Valley for a four lengths trouncing of her stablemate Karuta Queen in the Group 1 $400,000 Hacer Group William Reid Stakes (1200m) on March 22.
“You can go into these races with a hundred plans but all I can do is ride the race how it unfolds around me,” Nolen said.
“It doesn’t matter if it is Black Caviar or any other horse I ride out there, it’s the same regardless. They are all trying to beat you and it will be no different to any other day.”
Nolen, who will have Black Caviar quickly out of the inside gate, has analysed the race identifying the speed horses to his outside and taking particular note that slow beginner Bel Sprinter is drawn to his immediate outside.
“There looks to be a bit of speed outside me and Bel Sprinter can miss the start,” Nolen said.
“But I’m only worrying about Black Caviar.”
Bel Sprinter was able to reward Mornington trainer Jason Warren with his first Group 1 win in the $350,000 Canterbury BMW Galaxy (1100m) at Rosehill on March 30 even though the five year old did his usual trick of walking out of the barriers and was a clear last in the early stages of the race.
The Joe Pride trained Rain Affair looks the likely leader and will provide Nolen with a solid pace in the early stages giving him the opportunity to position Black Caviar where ever she feels comfortable.
A rain affected Randwick track will greatly enhanced Rain Affairs chances with the five year old unbeaten on dead to heavy tracks from nine attempts, albeit most of those wins were when he was working his way through the classes.
Injury plagued Hay List is also an on pace runner but trainer John McNair has indicated that he will instruct Glyn Schofield to ride the seven year old back off the speed if possible.
Trainer Peter Moody can’t fault Black Caviar as she arrived at his Sydney base at Rosehill after travelling up from Caulfield by float.
“I’ll dare not say she’s going better than she ever has, but she’s going every bit as good as she ever has,” Moody said.
“I’m always very respectful of opposition, I always have been, and I’ve never gone into a race thinking we’re a good thing.
“We don’t make the bookies’ prices, but facts and figures suggest there’s not a horse on this planet that can beat her under these conditions and at this distance.
“Usually our biggest worry is misfortune, but 24 times we’ve been pretty lucky.”
As is the case every time Black Caviar steps out betting is stifled and she is currently the $1.12 favourite for the T J Smith.
Bel Sprinter is the only other runner under double figures at $9 with Rain Affair, Hay List and the John O’Shea trained Sea Siren the next in the market at $26.