Well known Aussie hoop Craig Newitt has a stellar line-up of rides over the Sydney and Melbourne Spring Racing Carnivals this season starting on Saturday with Sweet Idea in the Memsie Stakes 2014.
Kicking off Group 1 racing for the 2014-15 season down under, this year’s $400,000 Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) attracted 16 nominations on Monday.
Group 1 winners and performers dominate the entries including the Gai Waterhouse-trained Snitzel mare Sweet Idea.
She made her four-year-old debut on August 9 at Randwick when holding off 2014 Cox Plate hope Messene to win the Group 2 Missile Stakes (1200m) in a tough win with Tommy Berry aboard.
Berry gives up the mount on last year’s Golden Slipper third placegetter however this weekend with Waterhouse engaging the services of Newitt.
He rides the mare for the first time and hopes to score an early elite level with her, Sweet Idea having come close to a Group 1 victory back in March at Rosehill when just nudged out by Steps In Time in the Coolmore Classic (1500m).
Conditions are certainly set to suit with a firm track on the weekend for her Melbourne debut, Steps In Time also suited to the 1400m second-up.
Newitt was in the saddle of Sweet Idea for the first time on Monday for an easy piece of work and was set to gallop her again in Melbourne this morning.
“I’ll go in tomorrow morning and gallop her,” Newitt told AAP yesterday.
“She’s bright in herself. She’s feeling well and I’m sure she’ll work well in the morning and go to the races on Saturday and be very hard to beat.”
It is a star-studded Memsie Stakes line-up this year however giving Sweet Idea plenty to beat, but the track and distance should give her every chance according to Newitt.
“There will be a lot of horses in the race that will get back but she will put herself on the speed and she’s fit and tough,” he said.
“She’ll give a big sight for a long way.”
The nominations are led by Roger James’s Cox Plate favourite Silent Achiever, the Kiwi mare paying $11 at Ladbrokes.com.au to win Australasia’s weight-for-age classic on October 25.
Silent Achiever is first-up here following a stunning autumn in Sydney that included the Group 1 Ranvet Stakes – The BMW winning double.
Other major players include last year’s Cox Plate runner-up Happy Trails, the Chris Waller-trained Boban last seen running fourth to Sweet Idea in the Missile Stakes, Missile second placegetter Messene for Team Hawkes, the fellow Haweks-trained Toydini formerly with the late Guy Walter and Peter Moody’s multiple Group 1 champion Moment Of Change.
Newitt meanwhile is also eagerly awaiting the return of his number one carnival ride, the world’s top-rated sprinter Lankan Rupee.
Winner of the Oakleigh Plate- Newmarket Handicap -TJ Smith Stakes Group 1 hat-trick during the autumn the Mick Price-trained son of Redoute’s Choice is set to resume Saturday week.
Newitt has ridden the now five-year-old for six of his past seven starts, including the Oakleigh Plate and TJ Smith Stakes, and will be back aboard for his first-up run in the $200,000 Group 2 McEwen Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley on September 6.
The official 2014 Memsie Stakes field and barriers are due out on Wednesday morning and will be published right here at Races.com.au so stay tuned.
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