Nolen confident ground won’t be a problem for Caviar

Big-race rider Luke Nolen is confident Australian superstar Black Caviar will not be inconvenienced by the prospect of soft ground in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Ascot on Saturday week.

The unbeaten mare arrived in Britain last Thursday and stands on the verge of her 22nd straight victory, with all but three of her wins having come under Nolen, who has experience of the Berkshire track riding in the Shergar Cup.

Nolen said: “A genuine wet track – as long as they are getting fully in it – I don’t see it being a great issue at all

“She goes very well at home in different conditions. She galloped very good in testing conditions and came through it with flying colours.

“Like any fine lady they just require a bit of maintenance, that’s all. Our significant others require a bit of maintenance occasionally and she’s no different to anyone out there.

“Any married man or married lady will probably testify to this.

“We’re very much managing her at this stage and I genuinely think yield in the ground, so long as it’s not bottomless, I don’t see it being a major issue at all.

“I think Ascot will play to her strengths being a slightly tougher straight six than the one we are accustomed to at home. It’s a testing six and I really do think it will play to her strengths.

“She’s a wonderfully relaxed mare and I can ride her however I decide.

“She can give them a start, she can break them right up the middle of race and carve out sectionals that I’ve never seen a horse capable of.

“She can bring horses out of their comfort zone.”

Nolen also said he had every faith that the Peter Moody-trained Black Caviar would find plenty for the whip – if it was required.

He said: “If it’s required at Ascot, she’ll respond duly to the whip.

“I’ll ride her as she jumps.

“She’s got a wonderful racing attitude and a wonderful racing style.

“I do respect the opposition – I’ve watched Bated Breath and a few others on the tapes -but I’ve got a great deal of faith in the mare I’m riding.

“Saturday week cannot come quick enough.

“I’ll be devastated if she got beat, that’s for sure.

“We’re going there to win and we’ve left no stone unturned.

“We’re hopeful of conquering Ascot.”

Moody is likely to crank Black Caviar’s preparations up a notch with a more serious piece of work in Newmarket this weekend.

The trainer is to touch down in Britain fairly shortly with a week and a half to go until Black Caviar’s date with destiny.

“Tony (Hayden, assistant) is very pleased with her and said her general well-being is unbelievable,” Moody told RSN’s Racing Ahead podcast.

“She’s bouncing out of her skin and he said to me please get over here quick-smart and start doing a bit more work with the horse.

“I’d rather it be that way than him saying we’re struggling and I’m not happy with her.

“There’s a beautiful artificial track called the Al Bahathri that is about nine furlongs, a slight dogleg track that goes up the middle of the grass gallops.

“You could even gallop on it but I’m anticipating on Saturday that if I’m as happy with her condition as the boys are reporting that she’ll probably go a bit of evens on that.

“Then probably next Tuesday she would have a gallop on the grass. If I think she needs a bit more, then she can have a working gallop on the artificial on Saturday leading into a gallop on the grass on Tuesday.”

Like Nolen, Moody has no concerns over the ground.

He said: “I think she trialled on about heavy 28 at Cranbourne one day and went through it like a duck, and numerous times in jump-outs and track gallops at Caulfield she has had to cope with wet conditions and it hasn’t seemed to have fazed her.

“Obviously race conditions are a much different scenario but she’s a big, heavy mare. It’s well known she’s got a few issues and those horses generally tend to appreciate a bit of cut in the ground.”

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