Hugh Bowman and Winx. Luke Nolen and Black Caviar. Glen Boss and Makybe Diva.
Think about those three jockeys and you are drawn to their bond and association with the greats of Australian racing.
In Perth, you can extend that connection between rider and horse to Jarrad Noske and Rock Magic.
Noske rode Black Caviar in her first two wins at Flemington and Caulfield, but despite historical links to the champion mare, he is unequivocal where his affection lays.
Aside from co trainers Michael and Chris Gangemi, Noske has an instinctual understanding of Rock Magic and knows what makes him tick.
Since arriving from Sydney with little fuss or fanfare seven years ago, Noske has been Rock Magic’s regular partner in 35 of 39 Perth starts and 42 of 62 career outings.
Eight of those local victories were black type with five at Group 3 level, including the Colonel Reeves Stakes (1100m), The Prince Of Wales Stakes (1000m), the Belmont Sprint (1400m) and two Roma Cups (1200m).
Noske’s involvement with Rock Magic may have started as a marriage of convenience in 2014, but it will end on Saturday with heartfelt affection.
Noske and his great mate are gearing up for one final time as a partnership when they join forces in the Crown Perth Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m).
“I’m looking forward to it and on the other hand I’m not,” Noske told The Races WA.
“We all sort of knew this day and retirement was coming, but it will be sad.
“He’s a special horse and without doubt my favourite.
“I guess people will always consider me and Rock Magic as a team, we’ve been together a long time.
“He’s been a pretty special horse to me.”
Rock Magic’s ability to be competitive at an age when most horses have retired is testament to his longevity and the careful nurturing and management of the Gangemi’s.
He’s also considered one of Perth’s popular horses who has developed almost cult-like status, particularly among his loyal group of owners who cheer rapturously when he races.
Notwithstanding sentiment, Noske dares to dream the 12-year-old can bow out of racing on a high and in a race that he has gone close to claiming before.
In five previous attempts at the $1 million race, Rock Magic finished third on three occasions including last year to Elite Street when he loomed up in the straight.
Rock Magic goes into Saturday’s Winterbottom Stakes after finishing runner-up in the Crawford Stakes (1000m) and fourth in the Prince Of Wales Stakes (1000m) behind Elite Street.
The Dan Morton-trained Elite Street, unbeaten this preparation and favourite for the Winterbottom Stakes, is the logical horse to beat, but Noske says don’t underestimate Rock Magic.
“You can argue he is racing as well as any point in his career,” Noske said.
“I’ve ridden him a few times in the past few weeks and he feels good.
“Everything needs to go his way and it’s going to be hard with Elite Street, but I give him a big chance of finishing in the first three.
“Funny things happen in racing, but he’s a big place chance.”
The barrier draw for the Winterbottom Stakes will be held at Crown this afternoon (Tuesday).