Nolen holds Newitt at bay

The engrossing metro jockeys’ premiership battle has been won by Luke Nolen.

Luke Nolen went winless for only second time in the past eight metropolitan meetings today at Sportingbet Park (Sandown), but it didn’t prevent the star jockey from holding on to claim another Victorian Metropolitan Jockeys’ Premiership.

Nolen entered the final metro meeting of the year leading Craig Newitt 74 wins to 69 and with Newitt also failing to salute at any of his four rides for the day he was able to maintain his five-win advantage. Dwayne Dunn finished third with 54 wins.

A red-letter day at Caulfield on Saturday, when he combined with Peter Moody for a winning treble, all but put the result beyond doubt.

It is the third consecutive season that Nolen has won the title, following 67 and 71-win seasons the past two years.

Nolen’s biggest supporter, Moody, can officially celebrate a premiership hat-trick of his own after wrapping up another metro trainers’ title.

Victory by Mulaazem in the opening event at Sandown was his 91st city success of the season, leading him to a comfortable win over Mick Price (51) and Robert Smerdon (45).

Katelyn Mallyon hasn’t ridden since a fall at Flemington on 19 May, but she held on to win the metropolitan apprentice jockeys’ premiership.

Mallyon rode 23 city winners for the racing year, five more than boyfriend and nearest rival Jake Noonan.

Nolen & Newitt Battle To Go Down To The Wire

Late double edges Luke Nolen clear in race for metro premiership

Golden Archer was a key contributor to Luke Nolen’s Victorian Metropolitan Jockeys’ Premiership defence last season and today the colt did his bit to help the star hoop to another title in 2011/12.

The Peter Moody-trained three-year-old, who posted four of his five wins as a juvenile on Melbourne tracks with Nolen in the saddle, resumed from a 43-week break with a decisive win in the $70,000 Monjon Australia Handicap (1000m).

The victory was Nolen’s 69th Victorian city winner of the season, edging him one win clear of Craig Newitt in the enthralling battle for this year’s metro jockeys’ title.

Nolen stretched that lead to two 35 minutes later when Golden Archer’s stablemate Dayita held off the Newitt-ridden He’s A Steal in the final event of the day.

The reigning Scobie Breasley medallist was delighted to see Golden Archer make a successful comeback after a hoof injury derailed his Melbourne Festival of Racing campaign earlier this year.

“He’s been a really good horse for our camp, in the lower grades but at Stakes level as a three-year-old and a two-year-old,” he said of Golden Archer, whose only other win of the season was the Group 3 McNeil Stakes in August.

“He’s been a model of consistency, obviously placed to advantage, but he’s been a good little money spinner.”

Golden Archer ($4.60) made it three wins from as many starts up the famed Flemington straight when he powered to a two-length win over Freereturn ($9.50) with Beyond Pardon ($13) a further three quarters of a length away. Former WA filly Night War, the $3.80 favourite, was never a factor after missing the start and beat just one runner home.

Golden Archer, a son of Rock Of Gibraltar, took even Nolen by surprise with the ease of the win, which took 58.07 seconds to achieve.

“He surprised me a bit, but he’s such a competitor,” Nolen said. “I thought I might get to the 50 (metre mark) or even the 100 and the balloon might explode on me, but I was surprised.

“That was an ideal scenario today. He’s had a nice gallop around, he hasn’t been knocked around, so hopefully he’ll take nice benefit from it and tackle some of the early spring sprint races.”

Dayita atoned for Flemington third placings at her previous two outings when she prevailed at the end of the $70,000 Commotion Creative Handicap (1700m).

The daughter of Show A Heart looked set to charge to a resounding win when she ambled alongside He’s A Steal at the 200m, but tenacious riding from Newitt meant Nolen had to pull out all stops to get home.

At the line Dayita had a half-neck to spare over He’s A Steal with the runner-up’s stablemate Imoto three lengths away third.

Moody rips through 200-win barrier

Three winners today saw Peter Moody crack 200 winners for the season for the first time

They say first impressions are the most important and Ready To Rip made the perfect introduction to Peter Moody’s racing team when he won today’s Listed All Victorian Sprint Series Final at Flemington.

The former Queenslander saw Moody reach 200 wins for the season for the first time in his career when he claimed the $100,000 Listed event at his debut for Victoria’s leading stable.

The win completed a Flemington feature double for Moody, following an earlier win by Infinite Energy, and was the champion trainer’s third winner for the day following victory by Volando in Adelaide.

“It’s been a great year, it’s pinch-yourself-stuff, obviously with the big trip to Ascot and to make it 200 wins for the season is great,” he said.

“We’ve got into the 180s a few times now, so it’s a massive effort and I know it’s an old cliché but you can’t do it without the backing of great owners and I’ve got a terrific staff and a terrific team of jockeys that ride for me.”

Ready To Rip’s win was Moody’s 85th Victorian city winner for the season and his 179th statewide. Volando’s win was his eighth in Adelaide, while he has also prepared seven winners in Queensland, five in New South Wales along with Black Caviar’s unforgettable Royal Ascot success.

Moody, who is based at Caulfield, is also Australia’s leading Group 1 trainer with 11 wins at the highest level.

He doesn’t expect Ready To Rip to assume a place in that club next season, but he was delighted to see him score a debut win for the stable. The son of More Than Ready landed some astute bets when he scored a fighting win in the 1200-metre event.

A $10 chance in initial markets, Ready To Rip was into $3.50 by race morning and opened at $2.10 with on-course bookmakers. He drifted to $2.40 and while his supporters had some nervous moments, he had a half-neck to spare on the line.

Second was the game Gossip Girl ($7.50), who stuck on gamely to edge out Del Palio ($8.50) for third.

“We came here very open-minded, even though the market suggested otherwise,” Moody said. “Someone might drop a six pack around because it wasn’t the trainer or the stable or the connections that swallowed up the 10-1.

“He’s a tradesman, he hasn’t shown us anything brilliant at home, he goes about his work professionally and he’s done a good job first time up the straight here.”

Ready To Rip’s win was important for Moody’s stable jockey Luke Nolen, who drew level with Craig Newitt in the race for the metropolitan jockey’s premiership on 65 wins after Newitt had an unsuccessful day.

Nolen was denied a winning double by Daniel Stackhouse, who guided Infinite Energy to a strong win in the $100,000 Silver Bowl Series Final (1600m).

The Flying Spur gelding staged a form reversal to make his first trip to the winner’s stall in five starts this campaign.

Infinite Energy, who started at $21, powered home by 3-1/4 lengths from stablemate and Nolen’s mount Club Command ($2.60 fav) with He’s A Steal ($13) a further length back third.

So You Think out of Eclipse

The curtain appears set to be drawn on So You Think’s illustrious career after he was found lame on the eve of his expected swansong

The career of champion export So You Think appears to have ended on a disappointing note, with the dual Cox Plate winner withdrawn from his expected swansong in the UK this Saturday night (AET) due to a setback.

Trainer Aidan O’Brien advised the public via Twitter that the 10-time Group 1 winner had been found lame in his stable on Thursday morning (BST) and thus would miss the Group 1 Coral-Eclipse Stakes (2000m) – a race he won 12 months ago.

The Eclipse was earmarked as So You Think’s final racetrack appearance before returning to Australia to commence a lucrative stud career at owner Coolmore’s New South Wales base.

Whilst connections are yet to publicly declare that the horse is retired, it would appear the most likely scenario with a big book of mares awaiting his arrival in the Hunter Valley for the breeding season which starts on 1 August.

If the curtain is officially drawn, then So You Think will have ended his career with Group 1 victories at his final two appearances being the Tattersall’s Cup at the Curragh (Ireland) in May and in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot (UK) in June.

He has captured five Group 1 races in each hemisphere amassing a total of 14 wins and five minor placings from 23 starts that have yielded over $A7.6 million in earnings.

He’s raced in Australia, UK, Ireland, Dubai and the USA in a career that commenced and prospered under the tutelage of the Cups King Bart Cummings before his export to Ireland at the end of 2010.

In So You Think’s absence a field of 10 will contest the Eclipse Stakes which still garners plenty of interest for Australian punters with several Sportingbet Cox Plate possible contenders engaged.

Former Italian star Crackerjack King makes his debut for his new Australian owners and is a definite for the Cox Plate, whilst Cityscape and Monterosso – two of the 10 high profile internationals invited to contest this year’s race – are also engaged.

Dubai World Cup winner Monterosso is one of two Godolphin runners with the untapped Farhh, a late entry for the race after his eye-catching third in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, assuming favouritism in So You Think’s absence.