Newmarket Handicap 2021: Craig Newitt chasing riding record on Prophet’s Thumb at Flemington

Craig Newitt could already hold the outright record of Newmarket Handicap wins for a jockey had he made the right choice in 2014.

Newitt won that year’s Oakleigh Plate on Lankan Rupee but stuck with his favourite mare Samaready in the Newmarket Handicap. The decision paved the way for Chad Schofield to ride Lankan Rupee to victory in the Newmarket.

“I always rode Samaready but Lankan Rupee flogged them,” Newitt said.

Newitt shares the record of three Newmarket wins with former stars Harold Badger, Athol Mulley and Harry White along with modern champion Damien Oliver.

Newitt will chase a historic fourth win in Saturday’s $1.25 million race on the Anthony and Sam Freedman-trained Prophet’s Thumb. Newitt won his first Newmarket on the Lee Freedman-trained Miss Andretti in 2007.

Newitt’s Newmarket Handicap mount Prophet’s Thumb won the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes at Caulfield two starts back. Picture: Brett Holburt/Racing PhotosSource:Getty Images

Prophet’s Thumb is a $34 chance in early Newmarket Handicap betting but long odds won’t worry Newitt. He won the race on $21 chance The Quarterback in 2016 and $15 shot Shamrocker in 2013.

Prophet’s Thumb won the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes at Caulfield two runs back before a midfield finish in the Oakleigh Plate. Newitt said those runs showed where the five-year-old sits in the sprinting ranks.

“She’s on the border of Group 2 or Group 1 in class,” Newitt said.

“Her Oakleigh Plate run was enormous without a lot of luck. She was never going to win the race but she got closest on the line. It was a race where there was only two or three that made good ground and she was one of them.”

The Chris Waller-trained September Run is a $2.20 favourite to notch another Group 1 win down the Flemington straight course after winning the Coolmore Stud Stakes in the spring.

Newitt said September Run was a deserved favourite but he expected Prophet’s Thumb to be thereabouts if things go her way from barrier two.

“I think whatever beats September Run is going to win the race,” Newitt said. “If you take out the favourite, it’s a pretty even race so I’m confident she (Prophet’s Thumb) is going be very competitive.”

Originally published asThumbs up for Newitt’s bid to claim Newmarket record

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