Craig Newitt will make a hit-and-run mission from Tasmania to Victoria for Derby day, intent on making his only planned ride at this year’s Melbourne Cup carnival count in the Kennedy Mile.
Newitt recently relocated to his home state of Tasmania from Melbourne with his wife Karli and four boys for a lifestyle change.
He has been riding plenty of winners there and making flying visits back to Victoria when the opportunities arise.
A couple of years ago, Newitt won the Victoria Derby on Tarzino but this time around his only ride is on So Si Bon, fourth in last year’s Derby but now racing at shorter distances such as Saturday’s Kennedy Mile.
And Newitt he has more luck in the race than he has in the past two years when runner-up on Politeness and then McCreery.
“I reckon I should have nearly have won it the last two years,” Newitt said.
“I’ve been around the mark in it but haven’t hit the target yet.”
Politeness charged home for second to Turn Me Loose while Newitt said McCreery was “pretty stiff” not to win last year.
Newitt rode So Si Bon to a last-start third in the Group One Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield.
The Robbie Laing-trained horse had a minor setback and missed the Toorak Handicap (1600m).
He has since won a barrier trial at Cranbourne by 3-1/2 lengths in preparation for Saturday.
“He’s a horse going well and we all know he’s got the ability if he puts his mind to it,” Newitt said.
“There looks pretty good speed on paper and he’s drawn out so he’ll be ridden quietly and I’m sure he’ll hit the line hard.”
Newitt said he probably rode So Si Bon a bit too close to the pace in the Rupert Clarke Stakes.
“I think with a little bit quieter ride I’m sure he’ll show that good acceleration at the end of the race, which we all know he’s got,” he said.