Luke Nolen will join trainer Peter Moody at Newmarket early next week to put the final touches on super mare Black Caviar for her appearance at Royal Ascot tomorrow week.
Moody is already in transit and Nolen will fly out after Saturday’s Flemington meeting where he will be in battle with rival jockey Craig Newitt for the Melbourne jockey’s premiership.
Nolen and Newitt both have seven rides at Flemington and currently share the lead in the premiership with fifty-nine wins a piece and Nolen will be returning from England as soon as possible after Black Caviar competes in the Group 1 £500,000 The Diamond Jubilee Stakes (6 furlongs) at Royal Ascot.
“I’ll be coming straight home. I want to win the premiership,” Nolen said.
Moody will arrive in England before the weekend and head straight to Newmarket to see for himself if the reports of Black Caviar settling in are as good as he is hearing from his team already there.
“Tony (Hayden, assistant) is very pleased with her and said her general well-being is unbelievable,” Moody said.
“She’s bouncing out of her skin and he said to me please get over here quick-smart and start doing a bit more work with the horse. I’d rather it be that way than him saying we’re struggling and I’m not happy with her.”
“There’s a beautiful artificial track called the Al Bahathri that is about nine furlongs, a slight dogleg track that goes up the middle of the grass gallops. You could even gallop on it but I’m anticipating on Saturday that if I’m as happy with her condition as the boys are reporting that she’ll probably go a bit of evens on that.”
Nolen will be on hand to give the unbeaten superstar her final serious hit out at Newmarket leading up to next Saturday and no doubt Moody will have her spot on for her Royal Ascot debut.
“Then probably next Tuesday she would have a gallop on the grass. If I think she needs a bit more, then she can have a working gallop on the artificial on Saturday leading into a gallop on the grass on Tuesday.”
The Moody team members who travelled with Black Caviar to Newmarket are very happy with the way she has settled in and racing manager Jeff O’Connor said that everybody has done their job.
“She has been here close to a week now. Pete will be here in 24 hours but the boys here and those at home have done a magnificent job,” O’Connor said.
“This was always going to be half the battle, getting a horse that had never travelled over here and have her to settle in without any complications.”
“There’s nothing for her to add to on top of her record – we know she’s a champion and she’s unbeaten,” he said.
With the prospect of Black Caviar to be tested on a rain affected track for the first time, Nolen and Moody are confident she will handle the test and go on to secure her twenty second straight win.
“A wet track won’t worry her. So long as she gets traction there will be no dramas. She’s worked well on that sort of heavy going at Caulfield and she won a trial in the heavy, so I don’t have any worries about that,” Nolen said.
And Moody recalled a barrier trial that Black Caviar contested at Cranbourne on a very heavy track and she had no trouble handling it.
“I think she trialled on about heavy 28 at Cranbourne one day and went through it like a duck, and numerous times in jump-outs and track gallops at Caulfield she has had to cope with wet conditions and it hasn’t seemed to have fazed her,” Moody said.
“Race conditions are a much different scenario but she’s a big, heavy mare. It’s well known she’s got a few issues and those horses generally tend to appreciate a bit of cut in the ground. We don’t want to see a bog track but what you find at Ascot is the straight course copes with the wet much better than the bottom anyway.”
The best odds on offer for Black Caviar in the Diamond Jubilee are 1-2 with most betting shops putting her up at 1-3 in front of Bated Breath and Moonlight Cloud at 8-1 and last year’s winner Society Rock at 12-1.