Scenes of jubilation surrounded the Sandown mounting yard as the Julius Sandhu-trained Lofty Strike reigned supreme in the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes.
Having not been seen at the races since finishing a length off Roch ‘N’ Horse in the Group 1 Champions Sprint on November 5, the three-year-old colt showed no signs of ring rust when unleashing a stunning turn of foot to claim his second career Group 2 success.
The race set up perfectly for a backmarker to swoop, with the Peter Moody-trained Oxley Road making the 1100m event a genuinely run event.
Despite race favourite Uncommon James looking the winner with 200m to go, it was Lofty Strike under Craig Newitt who went home the best in Saturday’s Group 2.
2023 Rubiton Stakes Replay – Lofty Strike
The win came almost 12 months to the day since his win in the 2022 Blue Diamond Prelude where he managed to get the better of Jacquinot at Caulfield.
“We pretty much thought the Oakleigh Plate would be our kick off,” said an emotional Julius Sandhu post-race.
“He went to that jumpout two weeks ago and surprised me enormously.
“Froggy (Craig Newitt) got off and said this boy is serious.
“We’ll go back home and make sure he is ok and hopefully we will see you again in a fortnight.”
As Sandhu suggested leading up to the event, the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate will be where the colt heads and following his win at Sandown, online bookmakers have tightened him in to a $9 quote for the 1100m sprint at Sandown.
Craig Newitt has been the one to take advantage of the fact that regular jockey Jamie Mott cannot make the low weights that Lofty Strike keeps getting assigned and having partnered him to a 7th in the Champions Sprint, was glad to be in the winner’s stall on Saturday afternoon.
“In the short space I’ve known him, he’s a very special colt,” Newitt said singing the praises of Lofty Strike.
“He has Group 1 written all over him.
“Two weeks time, we are going to have a fitter, much better horse.”