Light Fantastic for Orr
Craig Newitt says Light Fantastic is spot-on for the CF Orr Stakes at Caulfield on Sunday and believes the grey can win the Group One weight-for-age feature.
The jockey was aboard Light Fantastic for highlights such as the Group One Australian Guineas (1600m) victory at Flemington last March and his first-up win over Weekend Hussler in the Group Two J J Liston Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield in August.
"He’s going terrific and the 1400 metres is ideal," said Newitt who landed the first Group One win of his successful career in the 2006 Orr on Perfect Promise.
Newitt was not concerned about Light Fantastic drawing out in barrier nine in the 12-horse field.
"He enjoys a bit of room and hopefully he’ll slot in somewhere and if there is good speed in the race he will be very hard to beat," he said.
"Theseo and Maldivian should string them along."
Newitt was delighted with the four-year-old’s first-up effort when a close second to Lucky Secret in the Group Two Carlyon Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on January 23.
While it was his first defeat in three first-up outings, it showed that he was over his problems, stomach ulcers, which brought an early ending to his spring campaign.
After following race leader Lucky Secret all the way he got out at the top of the straight and made a late lunge but went down by a head.
"I’m more confident about him in this race. No doubt he has improved, Mick (trainer Mick Price) has freshened him him up nicely for this race," Newitt said.
Price has a good back-up runner in Toorak Handicap winner Alamosa who will be ridden for the first time in a race by Damien Oliver, replacing Newitt.
Alamosa will stand at Bill Gleeson’s Wellfield Stud at Palmerston North in New Zealand next season but first he will embark on an autumn campaign aimed at the $2 million Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick on April 18.
Price’s stable foreman Matthew Finn said the stable was looking for a forward showing from the O’Reilly four-year-old who is after his fifth Group One win, having won three in New Zealand before joining the Price stable.
Finn cited his first-up fourth, beaten less than two lengths by Light Fantastic in the Liston last spring, as a guide to his prospects.
He said Alamosa went well in a 950m jumpout at Sandown last Tuesday with Oliver aboard.
Oliver is shooting for his third Orr success having won the race aboard Durbridge in 1993 and El Segundo in 2007.
Light Fantastic has firmed from $3.80 to $3.20 favouritism on TAB Sportsbet’s fixed odds market ahead of Theseo at $6, Maldivian ($6.50), Niconero and Von Costa De Hero ($8), Alamosa at $8.50 with El Segundo at $10.
By Mark Ryan