Luke Nolen’s quest to become Australia’s leading Group One rider for the season continues at Randwick on Saturday and he seems assured of adding at least one more with Black Caviar.
Well on the way to winning his second straight Melbourne jockeys’ premiership, Nolen has already notched up six Group Ones this season – two ahead of Steven Arnold, Glen Boss and Hugh Bowman.
All of them have been for leading Victorian trainer Peter Moody who has had seven Group One victories this season.
Nolen would also have seven had he not been suspended when Ben Melham filled in to guide superstar Black Caviar to her first Group One in the Patinack Farm Classic at Flemington last spring.
She has since added another three to her tally, with Nolen up, in the Lightning Stakes and Newmarket Handicap, both at Flemington, and the William Reid Stakes at Moonee Valley.
The unassuming Nolen was happy with Black Caviar’s barrier five draw in Saturday’s $1 million TJ Smith Stakes, her first race outside of Melbourne where she hasn’t been beaten, winning 11 straight, eight of them over Saturday’s 1200m trip.
Nolen doesn’t see any negatives, least of all her handling the right-handed or Sydney direction.
“She’s had a heap of gallops that way. She’s been galloping that way since after the Newmarket,” he said of Black Caviar who is $1.22 favourite with TAB Sportsbet.
“Every gallop she’s had since at Caulfield has been the reverse way.”
Black Caviar was due to be floated to Sydney on Thursday night with Nolen flying up on Saturday morning.
Joining Black Caviar on the trip are Caulfield Guineas winner Anacheeva, Moody’s $1.5 million Australian Derby runner, and Willow Creek who’ll contest the Group Three Adrian Knox Stakes (2000m).
Nolen was positive about the prospects of Anacheeva who drew nicely in gate six.
The Anabaa colt has been unplaced in four starts this campaign, but Nolen is hoping Anacheeva can seal a career at stud by adding the Derby to his Caulfield Guineas (1600m) victory.
“The 2400 metres will suit him,” Nolen said of the brother to 2006 Australian Derby winner Headturner.
“The three-year-olds of the spring don’t always hold their form in the autumn but at home he’s done nothing to say he’s not as good as he was.
“He’s actually working better now than he ever has. He’s really come on.
“His last two runs have been even without getting excited and if he gets the right run I’m sure he’s going to figure somewhere, definitely.”
Willow Creek showed a return to form last start when she finished a close third from a wide barrier to Booklet in the Adelaide Guineas (1600m) at Morphettville.
On Saturday she has drawn one.