Go Gerty!

The Sportsman Weekend - - Front Page - By RAY HICK­SON

OSCI­ETRA, the first foal of cham­pion Black Caviar, was a stun­ner as a foal and she’ll head­line New Year’s Day rac­ing when she makes her de­but at Flem­ing­ton on Sun­day.

The two-year-old, nick­named Gerty, kicks off her ca­reer in a 1000m event down the straight - the same course as her un­beaten mother.

Ex­pec­ta­tions will be high for Osci­etra to con­tinue her mother’s win­ning ways and she’s done ev­ery­thing right to date with a cou­ple of jump out wins.

Fit­tingly, jockey Luke Nolen will part­ner Osci­etra at her de­but and he gave Sports­man plenty of in­sight into the where she fits in the Black Caviar story.

LUKE Nolen will al­ways be syn­ony­mous with Black Caviar but a part of him thought the story ended when the champ re­tired few years ago. And he was okay with that. But as Black Caviar’s first foal, the Ex­ceed And Ex­cel filly Osci­etra, makes her highly an­tic­i­pated de­but at Flem­ing­ton on Sun­day he’s well aware of the ex­cite­ment sur­round­ing

two-year-old’s ap­pear­ance. Osci­etra is some­thing of a se­quel to the Black Caviar story and one he’s pleased to be asked by own­ers be a part of.

“I was happy with the way it ended,” Nolen said.

“It a sense of re­lief more than any­thing. There was so much pres­sure on all of it but she did a mag­nif­i­cent job to be un­de­feated.

“I didn’t think be­yond her ca­reer as a race­horse to

brood­mare but it is nice to be in­cluded.

“That’s the real touch­ing part of it.”

It’s hard to be­lieve Black Caviar has been re­tired long enough – April 13, 2013 was her fi­nal start – to have a twoyear-old at the races.

She’s also pro­duced year­ling colt by Se­bring and a filly by Snitzel.

To some ex­tent Winx has taken her man­tle but ‘Nelly’ was un­de­feated i n her 25 starts, 15 at Group 1 level, and that gave her a spe­cial aura.

She was ba­si­cally un­beat­able and that res­onated with the non-rac­ing pub­lic.

How do you follow three straight Horse Of The Year ti­tles, a pat from the Queen af­ter Royal As­cot win that peo­ple packed out Fed­er­a­tion Square at mid­night in the mid­dle of win­ter to watch a Hall Of Fame in­ductee?

In the movie busi­ness it’s been long held that se­quels are never as good as the orig­i­nal.

Nolen has al­ways pre­ferred to err on the re­al­is­tic side and while he very much likes Osci­etra he’s quick to point out she’s not Black Caviar.

“We’ll never see one like her again,” he said.

“All horses should be treated like in­di­vid­u­als. We’ve seen it so many times in the history of rac­ing, the great race­track mares don’t pro­duce.

“(Black Caviar) may well be an ex­cep­tion to the rule be­cause she was a sprint­ing mare and gal­loped very lit­tle.

“Gary Ablett Jr went on to be a great foot­baller in his own right but can you imag­ine the shadow that Gary Ablett Snr cast?

“Michael Tuck played over 400 games for Hawthorn, a cou­ple of his kids got to AFL grade but none of them were the cham­pion that he was. Not even close.

“She’s go­ing to be com­pared to her mum her whole life.”

Black Caviar kicked off

ca­reer in a 1000m two-year-old race at Flem­ing­ton on April 18 in 2009 and at the time she was a filly that her trainer Peter Moody thought highly of.

She started $3 as she beat Kwassa Kwassa and Take The Rap by five lengths – it would be the only time she’d ever start in black in her ca­reer.

When Osci­etra, trained by the Lindsay Park team, lines up from bar­rier 3 in the New Year Plate (1000m) at Flem­ing­ton she’s go­ing to be ex­pected to win.

The Black Caviar ‘ salmon with black spots’ colours have been re­tired so Osci­etra will carry green with black spots.

Nolen ac­cepts the ex­pec­ta­tion is high and, while he prefers to be “glass half empty”, on the back of rid­ing her in two jump outs re­cent weeks has plenty of pos­i­tives to put for­ward about the filly they call ‘Gerty’.

“Be­cause of who she is is go­ing to be held a higher stan­dard,” he said.

“She’s a nice, cor­rect, well pro­por­tioned filly but a bit on the small side.

“I like her but in my ca­reer the smaller horses are of­ten beaten be­cause they lack the phys­i­cal strength.

“She has her mother’s tem­per­a­ment and at­ti­tude and she moves a bit like mum did. She’s go­ing to win races, she has

fur­nish a lot and hope­fully she keeps im­prov­ing.

“If can win a race she’s done her job, if she gets to stakes level it’s all a bonus be­cause of her pedi­gree.”

Osci­etra with trainer David Hayes

Luke Nolen on Osci­etra in a jump out and her fa­mous mother (left)

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