TASMANIAN jockey Craig Newitt has been flying under the radar during the early part of the spring carnival _ not making too many headlines but achieving the best results of any rider.
Newitt is the only jockey to have ridden a feature-race winner at each of the past four Saturday meetings in Melbourne and, as he predicted six weeks ago, most of his success has been for Sydney trainers.
He started the ball rolling at Moonee Valley on August 31 when he won the group 3 $135,000 Theshark.com.au Stakes on Samaready for his most loyal supporter, Caulfield trainer Mick Price.
The following week, he scored an upset win on the Chris Waller-trained Foreteller in the group 1 $350,000 Makybe Diva Stakes at Caulfield.
On September 14, it was another upset win for another Sydney-based trainer when he led all the way on the Peter Snowden-trained Kuroshio in the group 2 $175,000 McEwen Stakes at Moonee Valley.
And, on Saturday he again teamed up with Waller to win the group 3 $150,000 Sportingbet Sprint at Caulfield on favourite Catkins.
Only one other jockey, Ben Melham, has ridden a winner at each of the past four Saturday meetings but only one of his wins has been in a race worth more than $100,000.
Newitt said yesterday that he couldn't have hoped for a better start to the spring carnival.
``Everything is going well and I've got some good irons in the fire for the next couple of weeks,'' he said.
``Samaready runs in the Moir Stakes at Moonee Valley on Friday night _ she galloped super this morning and I expect her to be hard to beat in a very tough race.
``I'm riding It Is Written for Robbie Griffiths in the Rupert Clarke at Caulfield on Sunday and although he's got to step up a bit to be competitive at group 1 level, he'll be charging home.
``I've also picked up the ride on an unbeaten New Zealand horse called El Roca in the Guineas Prelude on Sunday _ he's a stablemate of [Auckland Cup winner] Sangster.''
The following weekend, Newitt will be at Flemington to continue his association with Foreteller in the group 1 $500,000 Turnbull Stakes and Catkins in the group 2 $220,000 Blazer Stakes.
Foreteller's run in the Turnbull will decide whether he tackles the Caulfield Cup or Cox Plate.
``I'm also looking forward to riding Hvasstan throughout the spring,'' Newitt said.
``They thought he was a 2400-metre horse last time in but he didn't stay.
``I reckon he'd be up to a race like the Mackinnon Stakes [2000m].''