Craig Newitt has already tasted success at the famous Royal Ascot carnival.
But he admits he probably didn’t appreciate the enormity of it as a 22-year-old when he won the King’s Stand Stakes on Miss Andretti six years ago.
“Everyone says it’s one of your biggest moments but I was a bit young at the time,” Newitt said.
The reaction of Hall of Fame trainer Lee Freedman to the victory, however, helped the achievement sink in for Newitt.
“It didn’t really hit home how big of an occasion it was,” Newitt said.
“Obviously Lee’s reaction was far superior to mine. It was still a good experience to go and get the job done, and hopefully I can go and do it again.”
Newitt will be back at Royal Ascot to ride Shamexpress in Tuesday’s Group One King’s Stand Stakes.
The 28-year-old partnered Shamexpress to victory in the Group One Newmarket Handicap in March and is convinced the three-year-old is the right horse for the race.
“Over there they go at a good clip and our sprinters have proven that we’ve got the best sprinters in the world,” Newitt said.
“I’m not saying that he’s up there with the absolute best sprinters that I’ve ridden but I think he’s only got to run up to his Newmarket win and I think he’s the horse to beat.”
His second Royal Ascot experience will be another chapter in the racing life of Newitt. And it’s had its ups and downs.
The year Miss Andretti won the King’s Stand, Newitt also got the chance to compete on Dubai World Cup night with Pompeii Ruler and at the Hong Kong International meeting with Miss Andretti.
“Dubai, Royal Ascot and the Melbourne Cup carnival are probably the three biggest carnivals in the world, so to be part of all three is something to be proud of,” Newitt said.
“To be competitive at the best level in the world is pretty good.”
But there was also an 18-month disqualification in 2004 for lying to stewards during the long-running Leone Chiara inquiry.
Danny O’Brien, the trainer of Shamexpress, complained to stewards about Newitt’s ride on Leone Chiara. The jockey was cleared of any wrong doing during the race but outed for giving false evidence about his association with a bookmaker.
At that time it would have been hard to believe Newitt and O’Brien would be combining for Group One success, which they did in the Newmarket, and now preparing for an international race.
“A lot of water goes under the bridge,” Newitt said.
“As the old cliche goes, there’s a big wheel in racing and it always comes back around.”
He said the support he’d had from O’Brien in recent months had been excellent.
“To go over there and win the Group One for Danny would be unbelievable,” he said.
Source : AAP