Regular rider of the country’s best sprinter Black Caviar, Luke Nolen is bullish over his chances of scoring his third Newmaket Handicap trophy in the past four seasons with this year’s race favourite Moment Of Change.
Nolen has had a magic recent run in the $1 million Group 1 Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m), running today as Flemington Race 6 at 3:15pm (AEST), riding the Peter Moody-trained Wanted to victory in 2010 and then winning again two years ago with superstar mare Black Caviar who set a then weight-carrying record with her 58kgs.
The ace hoop will be aboard another livewire chance this Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival with four-year-old Barley A Moment gelding Moment Of Change, the easing $2.90 favourite in the latest Newmarket Handicap odds.
“It’s been good to me, but a lot of the sprint races usually are being associated with the Peter Moody stable,” Nolen said of the Newmarket Handicap.
Nolen was aboard the progressive galloper for their last run of the spring when Moment Of Change broke their Group 1 maiden status with a tidy victory over We’re Gonna Rock in the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield.
The horse resumed racing on February 16 at Flemington in the Group 1 Lightning Stakes (1000m) but was ridden by Linda Meech for their slashing second as a $20 roughie behind undefeated stablemate Black Caviar, who was partnered there by Nolen.
Without Black Caviar, next set to contest the $400,000 Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on March 22, in the Newmarket mix this year Nolen is free to reunite with Moment Of Change who he rates as the horse to beat.
While Nolen was firmly focused on the record win by Black Caviar in the Lightning, he later looked back at the brave second by Moment Of Change believing the run an excellent Newmarket lead-up.
“I was more than happy with what I saw and Pete was over the moon,” Nolen said on Friday.
“It was good to see him run quite soundly behind what is the benchmark for Australian sprinters last start at weight-for-age, giving her two kilos and running her to two-and-a-half lengths in track record time.
“It just signals his quality and class I feel. I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
Among Moment Of Change’s most notable rivals this afternoon are Queensland raider Better Than Ready ($5.25) racing in their first ever Group 1 race and unbeaten WA speedster Barakey ($6.50).
To get behind Moment Of Change or any of their rivals at the best prices today make sure you bet online with bookmaker.com.au – home of the famous $400 bonus welcome bet offer!