Saturday, 25 February 2012
Three years to the day that Craig Newitt described as the worst of his life, the jockey had one of the most satisfying wins of his career aboard Samaready in the $1 million Blue Diamond Stakes.
Newitt was devastated when his father Guy was killed in a car accident on the morning of the Blue Diamond in 2009.
After insisting he ride at the 2009 Blue Diamond meeting when advised by counsellors not to, he was narrowly beaten in the Futurity Stakes that day on the Mick Price-trained grey Light Fantastic.
Newitt and Price have formed a close association since Newitt came over from his home state, Tasmania, to try his luck in Melbourne and Saturday's win meant plenty to both of them.
"He (Price) has been there ever since I came from Tassie and he's always been the one that's willing to give me a go even though I've made a lot of mistakes through the way," Newitt said.
"Three years ago was the worst day of my life but I've been married, have two kids with another one on the way, so from that point it's sort of always built up.
"I said to my wife a couple of months ago what are the two races she wanted me to win. She didn't worry about a Melbourne Cup, she wanted a Blue Diamond and a Golden Slipper so we're halfway there.
"This is one of the greatest thrills I've had in racing and it's a great thrill to ride this filly."
The Group One Blue Diamond was Price's bogey race having had it taken off him in 2003 when Roedean was subsequently disqualified due to returning a positive swab to lignocaine which had been inadvertently applied to the filly when treated with an ointment.
The Caulfield trainer had also had placings with Halibery who was promoted to second in 2003 while World Peace and Perfectly Ready finished third in 2004 and 2005 respectively.
Price went to the races on Saturday confident the daughter of More Than Ready could do the job as long as she had a "traffic-free run" - and he was right.
Samaready ($2.20 fav) remains unbeaten in three starts and Price is now looking at the world's richest two-year-old race, the $3.5 million Golden Slipper Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill on April 7, for the filly.
"She will pull up fantastic, I know it's a hot day but the (Golden) Slipper might be coming," he said.
Samaready was simply too classy for her Diamond rivals, settling forward of midfield and then forging her way to the front on straightening and powering away to a three-length win over Gold Coast Magic Millions Classic runner-up No Looking Back ($6.50).
Making it an all fillies finish, Armed For Action ($26) was two lengths away third.
Samaready was bred by Gerry Harvey and is raced by a group of syndicates headed by Vinery Stud, managed by Peter Orton.
Jimando was the first colt home, finishing fourth, with another colt Rusambo fifth.
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