Former New Zealand jockey Michael Walker has snared a start in the year’s final Aussie Group 1 replacing ace hoop Luke Nolen aboard one of the two Peter Moody-trained mares with So Pristine in the Saturday week’s 2012 Tattersall’s Tiara at Eagle Farm.
All eyes and bets will likely be on Moody’s upset Stradbroke Handicap winner Mid Summer Music when she vies for successive elite levels in the $500,000 Sky Racing Tattersall’s Tiara (1400m), but the now Victorian-based Walker is happy to have picked up the ride on their lesser fancied stablemate So Pristine.
The Zabeel six-year-old has won seven of her 30 career starts to date including the Group 2 Queen of the South Stakes (1600m) at Morphettville two back on April 28.
So Pristine joined Moody’s operation in the spring of last year having been previously prepared in New Zealand by Richard Collett.
Nolen has ridden her for five of her eight starts for Moody including the Queen of the South win and her last start sixth to Linton in the Group 3 RA Lee Stakes (1600m) at Morphettville on May 12.
But Nolen has bigger fish to fry on July 23.
He will be in England at Royal Ascot partnering with the superlative Black Caviar as she vies for an historic 22nd consecutive career victory in the £500,000 Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes (1200m).
One person pleased about Nolen’s absence is Walker who will not only ride So Pristine in the Tattersall’s Tiara 2012 but also Moody’s Elusive Quality four-year-old Elusive King in the $200,000 Group 3 Tattersall’s Cup (2200m) at the final Queensland Winter Racing Carnival meet.
Elusive King is out to break a four race drought not having won a race since December last year at Flemington.
On Monday they ran at Doomben in a Class 6 over 2000-metres but failed to handle the Heavy (9) conditions and were well beaten by this Saturday’s Ipswich Cup hopeful Ausworld.
Walker has already enjoyed a feature race win in Brisbane this season partnering the Darren Weir-trained Ballarat galloper Wealth Princess to their one and a quarter length victory in the Group 3 Glenlogan Park Stakes (1350m) at Doomben back on May 19.
He also had a ride in last weekend’s $1 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) with Wealth Princess but could only manage to finish a distant 17th beating home just one other runner when 10 lengths off the winner Mid Summer Music.
Formerly known as the Winter Stakes the 2012 Tattersall’s Tiara nominations are due out next week with Races.com.au to keep readers up to date with all the field and betting news.
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