Black Caviar remains unbeaten despite Nolen tactics Sun, 24 Jun 2012
The unthinkable came within inches of happening when Luke Nolen salvaged Black Caviar’s unbeaten record in a desperate final 20 metres to the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Everything was going to plan as the ‘Wonder from Down Under’ jumped cleanly and took up a position shadowing the two pacemakers on the grandstand side of the straight. With 400 metres to run Black Caviar had the wood on her opposition as Nolen let her ease to the front and put two lengths on the field.
Shortly afterwards, however, it became obvious that this was going to be no walk in the park as Nolen was forced to put the whip behind the saddle to ask the champion to extend. Passing the furlong (200m) marker she still had a length over her opposition and the race in safe keeping, but danger began to loom on her outside in the shape of French challengers Moonlight Cloud and Restiadargent.
Watching the action unfold on live television, all of Australia would have been aware of the twin threat, but the only person who wasn’t was the man on top. Apparently believing the job was done, Nolen eased the mare up with 50 metres to run.
Thiery Jarnet on Moonlight Cloud seized his opportunity and dived at Black Caviar, whereupon Nolen realised his blunder and saved the day with a desperate final two strides that saw the unbeaten record salvaged by a heart-stopping half-head.
High fives were absent when trainer Peter Moody caught up with Black Caviar and Nolen out on the track, just sheer relief. As one of the comments men on the television feed said: "I wouldn't be suprised if Luke has to change his britches before the presentation."