Mystic Journey has a ''great chance'' of winning Saturday's Cox Plate according to Tasmania's most successful jockey - but it might take a daring ride.
Craig Newitt has ridden in 'half a dozen or more' Cox Plates and was beaten only centimetres on Pompeii Ruler in 2006.
He says it's not only a difficult race to win but a tricky race to ride in - the pressure always come on early and you need to be in the right spot.
"There is never anywhere to hide in a Cox Plate," said Newitt who will be watching on TV as Anthony Darmanin rides Tasmania's star mare.
"There is always a rush to the winning post the first time before they back off from the 1600m to the 1000m.
"Then they come in a wave and you need to be either in front of the wave or on the back of it. Get stuck in the middle and you need a lot of luck.
If she can be up there, she'll keep going because she'll run the 2040m on her ear.Jockey Craig Newitt assesses Mystic Journey
"They've said they want to settle in the first six or seven on Mystic Journey but, if I was riding her, I'd push her forward and aim to be in the first three.
"She's got really good stamina but, in my opinion, not a great turn of foot.
"If she can be up there, she'll keep going because she'll run the 2040m on her ear."
Newitt regards Japanese mare Lys Gracieux as clearly the horse to beat.
"We know how good the Japanese horses are and they say she's the best to come here," the jockey said.
"It's not a vintage field so, if she handles the Moonee Valley track, she is probably too good.
"But, having said that, it's a long time since we've had a 14-horse field and she could cop a bit of traffic."
HOBART TO HOST DRIVERS' TITLE
Mark Yole and Ricky Duggan will represent Tasmania in the Australian Drivers Championship in Hobart next month.
Yole and Duggan topped last season's drivers' premiership with 88 and 73 winners respectively.
The other competitors will be: Kerryn Manning, Greg Sugars (Vic); Todd McCarthy, Laurent Tritton (NSW); Grant Dixon, Peter McMullen (Qld); Danielle Hill, Ken Rogers (SA) and Gary Hall, Ryan Warwick (WA).
McCarthy, Dixon and McMullen are all past winners.
It will be the sixth time the championship has been conducted in its current format and the third time in Tasmania.
The meeting has been given a prime timeslot on Saturday night, November 9, and will have Sky 1 coverage.
DOG TRAINER'S PENALTY REDUCED
Successful greyhound trainer Russell Watts has had a three-year disqualification cut to 21 months on appeal.
Moorleah-based Watts was disqualified for 12 months over the positive swab to testosterone returned by Birds Fly High at Devonport in February.
And, he was disqualified for a further two years after admitting to stewards that he had been injecting his dogs with Coforta the day before they raced.
Coforta contains phosphorus and vitamin B12 and can be given to dogs as an energy source. However, under raceday treatment rules, it cannot be administered after 12am on the day prior to a race.
The Appeal Board was satisfied that Watts had been unaware of that relatively new rule but said ignorance was no significant defence. Participants had been given notice on four occasions.
However, the board found that a two-year disqualification was "manifestly excessive" and reduced the penalty to nine months.
One of the reasons given for that decision was that the board was unable to determine the number of dogs involved.
It said that for stewards to penalise Watts on the basis that he had offended multiple times they would have needed to lay separate charges in respect of each animal - which they did not do.
The reduced nine-month ban has to be served in addition to the 12-month positive swab disqualification that Watts did not appeal so he is out for 21 months.