Luke Nolen could make his long-awaited return to race riding next week.
Nolen, a three-time Melbourne premiership winner and the regular rider of the champion Black Caviar, hasn’t ridden in a race for seven months after undergoing surgery on his back.
He has been riding trackwork at Caulfield for the past five weeks and is looking forward to an impending return.
“I’ve had a long build-up to get back to the races and the body is fine,” Nolen said.
“My fitness is getting there but there’s no substitute for race riding.
“I’ll probably take it easy the first week or 10 days once I get back but I’ll ride often and then it will take care of itself.”
He said he is hoping to make a return in the next seven to 10 days.
“We’ll just have to see where I’m at,” he said.
“I’m confident my body is fine so it will be around that time that I’ll be making a return to the races.”
Nolen’s weight got to 70kg during his time out but he is down to 60kg and expects to be 57kg for his return.
He said he has enjoyed riding trackwork in recent weeks and not having to rush to leave afterwards to lose weight or brush up on form before going to races.
“So that’s been really rewarding being able to take my time and enjoy riding work,” he said.
Nolen had a prolapsed disc between his L4 and L5 vertebrae.