Paul Nolan will be disappointed if Fantastic Blue can’t win at Doomben on Saturday and vindicate the trainer’s decision to bypass the Newcastle Cup.
Fantastic Blue will be attempting to stretch his winning sequence to four in Saturday’s Yummy Noodle Box Handicap (2020m).
The six-year-old has won his past three starts in the hands of premier jockey Chris Munce who turned down the chance to ride the gelding in Thursday’s Group Three Newcastle Cup (2300m) in favour of Essence Of Success.
The Gai Waterhouse-trained Essence Of Success ran last in the race won by Green Moon while Fantastic Blue remained at home in his Toowoomba stable.
With Munce riding in Sydney on Saturday, apprentice Michael Hellyer will be aboard Fantastic Blue when he lines up for his 39th start.
Nolan’s decision not to travel to Newcastle was later justified when his wife Sue underwent heart surgery this week.
“We’ve been married for 49 years and family comes first,” Nolan said.
“But I had already decided not to go to Newcastle when Chris wanted to ride Essence Of Success for Gai Waterhouse.
“I’m not blaming Chris one bit but as things turned out I wouldn’t have been there for the race after my wife’s operation to insert a pacemaker.
“She was in St Andrew’s hospital in Brisbane but she’s been discharged and is back at home now.”
Nolan is comfortable with his decision to use an apprentice on Fantastic Blue who has won 10 times in his career.
“A few of the owners thought he wasn’t a boy’s horse but apprentices have won three times on him,” Nolan said.
“Tim Bell has won twice on him and Brent Evans has also won on him.”
Nolan has ruled out any chance of Fantastic Blue heading interstate for the spring if the gelding maintains his winning run.
“I’ll be disappointed if he doesn’t win tomorrow after he worked so well this week,” Nolan said.
“He’ll have his next run in a Benchmark 90 race in Brisbane in two weeks and if he wins tomorrow he’s going to get a big weight,” he said.
“He’s not showing any signs he’s getting tired yet but he’ll spell immediately if he does and I’ll give him a long spell to get ready for the Brisbane winter carnival next year.
“We missed the Brisbane carnival this year because we stuffed around trying to get him ready for the Magic Millions and I won’t be repeating that again.”