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.

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