Had everything gone to plan for the speedy colt Golden Archer he would have been on the same plane to England as his stablemate Black Caviar and would have run at the world’s most prestigious race meeting.
But the notorious uncertainty of racing led to Golden Archer getting tangled up in a fence and instead of performing with the best in front of the Queen, he ended up running around with the mid-winter pack at Flemington on Saturday.
“He was short-listed to be at Royal Ascot with Black Caviar,” said Jeff O’Connor, stable manager for leading trainer Peter Moody.
“This is a big difference between there and here, but at least he’s winning.”
One of Melbourne’s best two-year-olds last season, Golden Archer ($4.60) returned from a 10-month break to win the Monjon Australia Handicap (1000m) in a style that suggested he has lost none of his brilliance.
Golden Archer sat off the scorching pace and breezed home two lengths clear of Freereturn ($9.50), earning himself another shot at Melbourne’s major spring sprints, and possibly a replacement overseas trip.
“We’ll have to see how he pulls up from this, but he won well enough to make you think he’s come back,” O’Connor said.
Golden Archer had been in the middle of a spring campaign when he cut his hind leg after putting it through a fence.
O’Connor said the cut wasn’t too severe, but was in a difficult location on a joint making it hard to heal.
“We had to stop him, but until then we’d been seriously thinking about running him in the King’s Stand Stakes at the Royal meeting.”
As well as confirming he had lost none of his abilities during his enforced lay-off, Golden Archer gave jockey Luke Nolen the lead in one of the hardest-fought Melbourne jockeys’ championships in decades.
Nolen and arch-rival Craig Newitt began the day together on 68 wins having finished the previous Saturday with 65 each.
The reigning premier rider made it a double in the next race, the Common Creative Handicap (1700m) on the Moody-trained Dayita which triumphed narrowly over Newitt’s mount He’s A Steal.