The Mark Newnham trained English import Spirit Ridge has emerged as one of the finds of the summer and will now be aimed at the riches of the Sydney autumn carnival after another impressive victory.
The $3.10 favourite took out the Listed January Cup over 2000m at Randwick and in doing so continued the trainer’s recent remarkable form.
The Nathaniel gelding was given a perfect ride by Robbie Dolan and now makes it three wins and two seconds from his five Australian starts.
The six-year-old held off Wolfe ($6) by three quarters of a length with outsider Mr Marathon Man ($26) a further three quarters of a length back in third.
Newnham believes more black type is on the cards and sees a potential G1 Sydney Cup stayer in the making.
“I think the way they ran it probably turned it into a little bit of a sprint home,” Newnham said.
“He was at his top at the top of the straight, but you could see his staying qualities shine late.
“The best part of his race was on the line so into the Autumn getting up to the mile and a half and maybe even a Sydney Cup might be on the agenda,” he said.
The victory makes it three wins from three rides for Dolan, and Newnham was full of praise for the Irish-born jockey.
“That was fantastic to see, another peach of a ride from Robbie,” Newnham said.
“Similar to last start, the plan all went as expected and he executed it well.”
Typical of the European imports, Spirit Ridge looks to be improving as the races get further.
“He’s a real Euro stayer, clean winded and doesn’t take long to come up,” Newnham said.
“He showed today how strong he was on the line that further is not going to be an issue.”
The TAB has now installed Spirit Ridge as a $51 chance in the 2021 Sydney Cup futures market.