Racing: Quiet Aussie achiever in sickening fall

By Mike Dillon

Photo / iStock
Photo / iStock

Who could forget those images taken moments after each of Luke Nolan's 22 wins aboard the incomparable Black Caviar?

Alongside in each is his great mate Peter Moody, who created one of international racing's greatest feats of keeping the champion mare unbeaten in her 27 career starts.

If 24 hours is a long time in politics, a couple of years is 24 lifetimes in horse racing.

Eerily, Moody is now gone, sidelined by an excessive cobalt charge, possibly for good, and Luke Nolan lies in an Adelaide hospital with a broken shoulder and spinal injuries that could be career-ending.

If you need anything more eerie, 40 minutes before Nolan fell from last-start winner Miss Promiscuity halfway through the A$400,000 Robert Sangster Classic at Morphettville on Saturday, he'd stylishly won the A$400,000 Schweppes Oaks on unbeaten filly Abbey Marie.

Watching the Nolan fall was sickening.

Miss Promiscuity, three wide in mid-field, was slightly bumped by a horse inside her. As her body twisted, Nolan was propelled from the saddle and landed relatively softly, rolling out towards the centre of the track. Each runner behind went past on his inside except the horse running last, which galloped squarely on Nolan's back.

Often the most innocent of race falls can create the most dangerous injuries and, equally, often jockeys can walk away from horrendous falls.

Nolan's fall was strikingly similar to when Danielle Johnson fell from Romantic Maid when she clipped heels just past the winning post with a round to travel in the $100,000 Championship Stakes at Ellerslie a few weeks ago.

Johnson's only issue turned out to be just a slightly injured hand and Nolan has serious back injuries to go with his fractured shoulder.

The complicating factor is Nolan has just come back to riding from a torturous seven months following back surgery.

Nolan can be quiet to the point of almost shyness, a condition not seen in many jockeys, particularly at the top level in Australia.

Perhaps his quiet personality is the reason Australia's entire racing industry is rooting for him to shake off these latest injuries and to eventually return to the saddle.

Cobalt threshold

Congratulations to New Zealand thoroughbred racing for lowering the acceptable cobalt threshold from 200 to 100.

The new level, which will apply from August 1, is the result of a combined Australian and New Zealand study by University of NSW's Professor Brynn Hibbert, titled Element Mass Concentration in Racing Horses.

In the study, Professor Hibbert found: "The probability of a horse exceeding the threshold of 200 ng/mL [without illicit help] is nearly 1 in 8 million, and of exceeding the international threshold of 100 ng/mL is nearly 1 in 100,000. The statistical analysis indicates that the threshold could be reduced to the international level of 100ng/mL, while still maintaining a false positive probability that is essentially zero."

This brings us into line with the Hong Kong Jockey Club.

- NZ Herald

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