Luke Nolen will return to competitive ride in the 2016 CS Hayes Stakes at Flemington on Saturday and he believes that Gold Symphony will need plenty of luck in running to give him a winning return in the Group 3 event.
Gold Symphony returned to the races in the Inglis Dash (1100m) at Flemington on January 16 and he was beaten by almost seven lengths by Hellbent before he failed to beat home a single runner in the Group 3 Manfred Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on February 6.
A post-race scope detected a degree of mucus that may have affected the performance of Gold Symphony in the CS Hayes Stakes, but Nolen said that the Peter Moody stable has still been disappointed with the recent effort of the Reward For Effort colt.
Nolen told Racing Ahead that Gold Symphony may need this run before he reaches peak fitness as he builds towards the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington in a fortnight, but he still believes that the three-year-old is capable of winning the CS Hayes Stakes this weekend, if the race is run to suit.
“His first two runs have probably been a little bit below par, but he has lacked a serious gallop too,” Nolen said.
“Out to 1400, I think that he might need this run to really top him off, but his work on Tuesday morning was great.
“He is capable of winning a race like this, but he does need the best possible run on Saturday to ensure that he is a winning chance.
“He is going well and we have our fingers crossed.”
Nolen has not ridden competitive since he partnered Angels Beach in the Group 3 Sir John Monash Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on July 4 after he had an operation for a prolapsed disc in his back.
The leading hoop put on plenty of weight during his time on the sidelines and he admitted that he had to do plenty of hard work to get back to his regular riding weight.
“I have done it most of my adult life, but I have done it the right way and I feel really good for it,” Nolen said.
“I still have a little bit of weight to go and I am just doing it slowly and doing it right, so it won’t just explode back on to me the first chance that I get.”
Gold Symphony is currently available at 2016 CS Hayes Stakes odds of $26 with Ladbrokes, while Palentino ($3.20) is a clear favourite from Ready For Victory ($6), River Wild ($6), Tivaci ($8) and Lizard Island ($9).