‘Second coming for both of us’: I Wish I Win triumphs for Moody-Nolen in Golden Eagle
The Black Caviar band was back together on Saturday as trainer Peter Moody and jockey Luke Nolen came north and took the $10 million Golden Eagle with I Wish I Win at Rosehill.
The pair have combined for more than 900 wins together, most memorably during Black Caviar’s 25-start unbeaten career, which provided their last group 1 together in the 2013 TJ Smith Stakes.
There has been a lot of water under the bridge since then. Moody had four years in retirement following a six-month ban for presenting a horse to the races with cobalt in its system.
“It’s very special – special to do it with my little mate. We’ve been down a long road, we’ve hit a few dry creeks between the two of us,” Moody said. “It’s very special for me and him because it’s like the second coming for both of us.
“We have probably both been written off, rightly or wrongly, throughout our careers but it’s nice to know you can still get the job done.”
Nolen was at his best on I Wish I Win ($8.50), travelling midfield before getting him to the centre of the track at the top of the straight and swooping to the front by the 200m mark. He was then a sitting shot for Fangirl ($12), which Hugh Bowman had skilfully weaved through the field from barrier 17.
They paired off in the final 50m and I Wish I Win got its head down at the right time.
“We have been together a long time, and when he took his break I missed him,” Nolen said. “But I didn’t lose my ability to ride and he didn’t lose his ability to train. You just need the right horse, and this bloke is one of those.”
The margin was only a nose, with Queenslander Gypsy Goddess ($12) sneaking up on the fence to run third three-quarters of a length away.
Bowman was full praise for Fangirl, which might have got her nose in front just before the post.
“She went up to win and the winner was, I think, floating. He surged and it was a great race. Disappointing not to win, but proud,” he said.
Gypsy Goddess was amazing first up at 1500m and will go back to the spelling paddock.
“We had a plan, and to run third is incredible,” her owner, Chris Lawler, said. “We will back here in the autumn and she is really a stayer, so the best is yet to come.”
Moody thought when I Wish I Win arrived he would be a good horse to go through the grades but has been amazed by his spring. He will attempt to match the three previous Golden Eagle winners – Kolding, Colette and I’m Thunderstruck – and become a group 1 winner.
“He’s been a revelation. We brought him over from New Zealand, he came out of Te Akau’s operation in unbelievable shape,” Moody said. “We brought him over thinking there are a lot of nice mile country cups in Victoria and, with all due respect, they’re worth more than the group 1s in New Zealand.
“He has just continued to evolve and develop and here we are, the second biggest turf race in the world five months later.”
They will celebrate long and hard. “It’s not how you win them, it’s how you celebrate,” Nolen said.