Nolen extends jockeys' premiership lead
- Planet Voyage
- Planet Voyage
Luke Nolen drew first blood in his battle with Craig Newitt for the Melbourne jockeys' premiership on the penultimate day of city racing for the season at Caulfield, stretching his lead to three wins.by AAP
By Mike Hedge
MELBOURNE, July 28 AAP - Luke Nolen drew first blood in his battle with Craig Newitt for the Melbourne jockeys' premiership on the penultimate day of city racing for the season at Caulfield, stretching his lead to three wins.
Nolen landed second favourite Planet Voyage in the Natalie Hunter Handicap (1000m) while Newitt could do no better than fifth on Zahee.
While the victory gave Nolen his biggest lead in more than a month, it also set up Planet Voyage for a shot at some of the new season's bigger three-year-old races.
"It's always the same early in the season with horses like him who are rock-hard fit," said trainer Peter Moody.
"We'll have a look at some of the early spring stakes races and give him his chance while he's got that fitness edge."
Race fitness clearly played a large part in Planet Voyage's win on Saturday.
The runner-up Hard Romp was having its first start and third placegetter The Travelling Man hadn't raced since February.
"It was the difference for sure," Nolen said.
"The third horse is a city winner and the second horse is obviously handy too."
Planet Voyage ($3.50) gave the leaders a two-length start at the 350m but quickly caught them inside the 200m to score by a length.
Hard Romp ($21) trailed the leader into the straight and did well on debut to take second place while the favourite The Travelling Man (3.30) showed good speed to lead and battled on well for third.