Jockey Craig Newitt has won a host of Melbourne’s biggest sprint races and has a third Oakleigh Plate in his sights, this time with Extreme Choice.
Newitt rides the Mick Price-trained Extreme Choice in Saturday’s 1100m handicap having already won a Blue Diamond Stakes and Moir Stakes at Group One level on the colt.
Newitt won his first Oakleigh Plate on another then three-year-old colt Snitzel in 2006 and added a second aboard Extreme Choice’s stablemate Lankan Rupee three years ago.
“They’re obviously two high-class horses that I’ve won the race on and he’s every bit as good as them,” Newitt said.
“He’s shooting for his third Group One, so hopefully he can get it.”
Extreme Choice has been installed the $4 favourite in an early all-in market after 19 nominations were taken for the race on Monday.
Multiple Group One placegetter and last year’s runner-up Fell Swoop is next at $5.50.
Newitt believes it is the perfect race for Extreme Choice to kick off his campaign and hopes he can draw well to boost his chances.
“He’s obviously a lot stronger physically this time in,” Newitt said.
“His trials have been good. His work has been good. So he’s ticking over very nicely.
“His work and trials suggest he’s going every bit as good as he was last preparation.”
He said similar to last preparation before Extreme Choice resumed in the Moir, his 800m jump-out at Caulfield last Tuesday was run on the course proper from the 1200m to the 400m.
“I felt he probably trialled a little bit better this prep than what he did last prep,” Newitt said.
“So he’s right on song.”
Newitt’s 33 Group One wins include two Oakleigh Plates, three Newmarket Handicaps, two Lightning Stakes, two Manikato Stakes, a Moir Stakes and also one Darley Classic, when it was known as The Age Classic.
Many of those big Melbourne sprint wins have come through his associations with Miss Andretti and Lankan Rupee.
Newitt and Price will be chasing their 20th Group One win as a jockey-trainer combination on Saturday.
“He’s been a good supporter and on the big occasions we seem to get it right,” Newitt said.
“So that’s good.”