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Craig Newitt could put himself in a league of his own among jockeys in the Newmarket Handicap history books when he rides Missrock in the time-honoured sprint at Flemington.

Newitt currently shares the riding record of three Newmarket wins having saluted aboard Miss Andretti (2007), Shamexpress (2013) and The Quarterback (2016).

“I’ve had a bit of luck in it and Missrock looks a good chance to hopefully make it four on Saturday,” Newitt said.

Newitt turns 33 on Saturday and is no stranger to big-race success on his birthday.

He celebrated his 22nd birthday by winning the Australian Cup and Newmarket Handicap double on Pompeii Ruler and Miss Andretti.

Newitt moved back to his home state of Tasmania with his family last year for a lifestyle change and to continue his riding career but chased the mount on Missrock for Saturday’s race in Melbourne, convinced the mare would be a genuine lightweight chance.

The Robbie Laing-trained Missrock’s recent Lightning Stakes (1000m) third placing first-up at Flemington under Damien Oliver behind Redkirk Warrior and Redzel confirmed she was on target for the Newmarket, in which she has 52kg.

“I thought she ran terrific,” Newitt said.

“Her lead-up trials had been terrific going into it and she was only beaten behind two of the best sprinters around.

“She did a great job to get as close as she did at weight-for-age and she drops right down in the weights.

“She has drawn on hopefully the right side of the track (11) and she looks to get a good run and she shouldn’t be too far away.

“I actually rang up probably a month ago to see if they were going to run her in the Oakleigh Plate but they said the Lightning was the kick-off point.

“Ollie was locked in to ride her in the Lightning and she was never going to get his weight in the Newmarket so I threw my hand up then.”

Missrock, who has also been placed in the Goodwood at Group One level, was at $19 on Thursday, with three-year-old colt Merchant Navy the $5 favourite in the field of 15.

“I give her a great chance,” Newitt said.

“The last time she carried 52 kilos she ran Vega Magic to about half a length (in the Goodwood), so that’s not bad form.”

 
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