Three times Melbourne premiership winning jockey Luke Nolen will miss the entire Spring Carnival because of back surgery but is confident he will be back in the saddle in the new year.
Nolen has forged a great association with four times premier trainer Peter Moody and became a worldwide celebrity as the rider of the unbeaten superstar of the turf, Black Caviar.
Nolen rode Black Caviar in twenty-two of her twenty-five victories, including fourteen Group 1s, but hasn’t ridden in a race since July 4 following a recurrence of a back injury.
Nolen has had two months of treatment for the injury but with little improvement has been forced to organize a date for surgery to rectify the problem.
“The spring carnival will have come and gone, but that’s the least of my worries,” Nolen told the Herald Sun.
“I need this fixed so that I can be free of pain for the rest of my life, either in the saddle or not. I want to return to riding, but first things first.”
Nolen anticipates the recovery time to be about twelve weeks with restricted movement in the first four weeks following the surgery.
“It is not the best news that you must go under the knife, but that’s the last resort,” Nolen said.
“I have not yet set a date for the operation, but I will be laid low for at least 12 weeks after it.
“The specialist said he was confident with the operation, because outcomes have produced a good record of recovery. He told me that I must restrict my movements for the first four weeks after the operation and then hopefully I can regain some mobility.”
“The operation is the next step in fixing up this problem. I’m certainly not looking forward to it, but it must be done.”
Nolen has racked up thirty-five Group 1 wins which include a Cox Plate on El Segundo in 2007, four Group 1 wins on Typhoon Tracy and three on the French import Manighar.