The enduring partnership between trainer Mick Price and jockey Craig Newitt has reached a new high with Tarzino’s win in the Victoria Derby.
Price had tried many times to win the Classic with his best result a second with Kempinsky in 2003.
On Saturday he went to Flemington with Tarzino, the overwhelming $2.90 favourite, entrusting Newitt to steer him like the best horse in the race.
And so it proved to be.
Tarzino settled midfield before Newitt moved him up towards the lead rounding the turn and, as instructed, counted to 10.
“At the top of the straight I counted to ten but it felt like 30,” Newitt said.
“But I knew he was the best horse in the race and I had confidence in him.”
That confidence was rewarded when Tarzino reached the post two lengths in front of Etymology ($13) with West Australian visitor and second favourite Kia Ora Koutou ($6.50) another 4-1/2 lengths away third.
“It panned out pretty good and it was a great ride by Craigy,” Price said.
“I was a little bit nervous when he hit the front a long way out but he is a really, really good horse with a lot of capacity to him.
“He is a beautiful colt. He will have a light autumn and then I think he can come back as a four-year-old and be a weight-for-age star.”
Newitt threw all his eggs in the Tarzino basket on Saturday, rejecting other rides.
“I wanted to concentrate on just him,” he said.
The jockey has had his ups and downs including a lengthy disqualification for misleading a stewards’ inquiry.
His highs include a slew of Group One wins including one at Royal Ascot on the Lee Freedman-trained Miss Andretti.
The one constant has been Price and they have shared many great moments particularly with sprinter Lankan Rupee.
Theirs is a working relationship based on respect but it is Newitt’s family ties that make the Derby the biggest win in his life.
“This is so much more special because I’m sharing it with these guys,” he said pointing to three small and excited boys.
Noah, 6, Chase, 5, and three-year-old Casey Newitt along with their mother Karli were among the throng that greeted Newitt who remained calm.
“Mick has been my biggest backer throughout my career and I’m happy I got the job done,” he said.
Etymology didn’t quite get the job done but trainer John O’Shea was pleased with his performance.
“It’s a shame he couldn’t win but I think we have a nice horse to go on with,” he said.
Adam Durrant will take Kia Ora Koutou back to Perth for a break and get him ready for the WA Derby in April.
“I thought he did really well,” Durrant said.
“It was his first trip away from home and we will give him a break and get him ready for the autumn.”