Craig Newitt has ridden his first Melbourne winner since returning from a Singapore riding stint.
Newitt headed to Singapore at the end of last year to take up a six-month riding licence but decided not to extend his stay.
He returned to Melbourne racing on a full-time basis at Flemington on Wednesday and was delighted to post his first winner back in Saturday’s Rivette Series Heat (1400m) on the Mick Price-trained Azeema.
Azeema ($9.50) came with a strong finish down the outside to win by two lengths over Kaizaen with Zerprise Journey a long head away third.
Her stablemate Northroza started the $2.90 favourite but was disappointing on face value, weakening after settling just behind the speed set by Fast Approaching and Oak Park Goblet to finish 10th.
Jockey Dale Smith told stewards Northroza failed to stretch out and was better on tracks with more give.
Newitt has had a long association with the Price stable and rode Azeema in her first start last June.
The jockey said he didn’t expect to be back where he was in the race but felt the speed was quicker than he anticipated.
“We really wanted to be a bit closer today but the speed was nice and genuine,” he said.
“She got a nice cart into the race and she was very strong late.”