Luke Nolen drew very 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 3 wins.
Nolen landed 2nd favourite Planet Voyage in the Natalie Hunter Handicap (1000m) while Newitt could do no better than fifth on Zahee.
Whilst the victory gave Nolen his biggest lead in far more than a month, it also set up Planet Voyage for a shot at some of the new season’s greater three-yr-old races.
“It really is constantly the identical 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 possibility whilst he’s acquired that fitness edge.”
Race fitness evidently played a significant component in Planet Voyage’s win on Saturday.
The runner-up Hard Romp was having its first start off and third placegetter The Travelling Guy hadn’t raced given that February.
“It was the big difference for positive,” Nolen explained.
“The 3rd horse is a city winner and the second horse is clearly useful as well.”
Planet Voyage ($ 3.50) gave the leaders a two-length begin at the 350m but rapidly caught them inside the 200m to score by a length.
Difficult Romp ($ 21) trailed the leader into the straight and did properly on debut to take second spot while the favourite The Travelling Guy (3.30) showed excellent speed to lead and battled on nicely for 3rd.