The Naturalism Stakes meeting at Caulfield signals the end of the 17-year Melbourne career of jockey Craig Newitt.
The Newitts are packing up and are booked to head home to Tasmania next week for a sea-change, although Newitt won’t be lost to riding ranks.
With more than 1700 winners, 33 at the highest level, Newitt will continue plying his trade in Tasmania and if required, will cross Bass Strait to ride in Melbourne.
After spending his adult life in Melbourne, Newitt wants to spend time with his four young sons.
With racing predominantly twice weekly in Tasmania it will allow him that time.
“I’ve been trying to not ride on Sundays so that I can take the boys to their soccer and that sort of stuff which I enjoy,” Newitt said.
“Hopefully we can find a sport on a Saturday morning so it won’t interfere with the racing.”
Rides and winners have dried up for Newitt in recent seasons.
Last year produced 73 wins from 800 rides while this term he has had two winners from 57 mounts.
But Newitt is looking forward to the challenges ahead and doesn’t have any regrets.
“If you have regrets you’re always looking in the past,” Newitt said.
“I’m a firm believer things happen for a reason and it probably made me a better person and a better jockey.”
And his career is sprinkled with highlights.
Better known for his association with sprinters the ilk of Miss Andretti, Samaready, Lankan Rupee and Extreme Choice, Newitt said Pompeii Ruler was possibly the best horse he had ridden.
“He was plagued with injuries and I don’t think we ever saw the best of him and yet he won an Australian Cup, ran third in the Cox Plate and raced on the world stage in Dubai and Singapore,” Newitt said.
Newitt rides at Cranbourne on Wednesday and has two early rides at Caulfield on Saturday, Almighty Girl in the How Now Stakes and Tasmanian Settler’s Stone in the Naturalism Stakes.