While the focus of the racing world will be on Royal Ascot in England this week, a jockey who has ridden a winner at the famous meeting is hoping for success in Australia’s final Group One race of the season.
Craig Newitt won the 2007 King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot on Australian sprinter Miss Andretti, who was unplaced in the Group One Golden Jubilee Stakes as favourite on the final day of the five-day meeting.
“It’s a while ago now but it’s something that every year when the carnival comes around, I can sit back and say ‘yes I’ve been there and conquered that’, which there’s only a few of us in Australia who have been able to do it,” 34-year-old Newitt said.
“So to be amongst that elite group is pretty humbling. I took it for granted a little bit at the time because I was only young but I look back on it now and it’s a pretty good feather in the cap to have.”
Newitt also rode at Royal Ascot in 2013 aboard the Danny O’Brien-trained Shamexpress who was unplaced in the King’s Stand.
The jockey easily leads this season’s premiership in his home state of Tasmania and has been making regular interstate trips to Melbourne recently for Saturday meetings, including notching a win on the Chris Waller-trained Mawaany Machine at Sandown last weekend.
This Saturday he will be in Brisbane where he is booked to ride Eckstein for the Waller stable in the Group One Tattersall’s Tiara at Eagle Farm.
A multiple stakes winner, Eckstein was formerly trained by Kurt Goldman before being bought by Coolmore for $750,000 at a recent broodmare sale and transferred to Waller.
Eckstein has been kept in training for the Tatt’s Tiara and impressed winning a barrier trial at the Gold Coast last week.
Newitt liked what he saw in that trial.
“She is a good mare and she is definitely capable of winning,” he said.
“I thought she trialled really impressively the other day.
“I think a big field will suit her mainly because she is a mare who gets back and runs on and the bigger the field, the better the speed is.”
Newitt’s most recent of 33 Group One wins came in the 2016 Moir Stakes on Extreme Choice.