Leading Sydney racehorse syndicator Denise Martin predicted big things for lightly-raced four-year-old Newhart after he gave jockey Craig Newitt a record-equalling sixth win in the $100,000 Devonport Cup at Spreyton on Wednesday.
"He's a very special horse and an outstanding prospect," Martin, the managing part-owner, said after Newhart finished powerfully to narrowly beat Longford Cup winner Triple Strip with topweight Speed Force a gallant third.
"He was disadvantaged at the weights and, like Eastender, he's bred to be a sprinter not a stayer but he will turn out to be the best horse in that race - he will get to a very high level in Tasmania."
Martin, originally from Devonport, said she wasn't sure whether Newhart was seasoned enough to follow the same path as Eastender to the Hobart and Launceston Cups, as he'd had only nine starts.
"Maybe next year," she said.
"At the moment we'll just celebrate an extraordinary achievement by our trainer Leanne Gaffney and her staff headed by Lane O'Shannessey to win a Devonport Cup with such an inexperienced horse.
"I did say to Leanne some time ago 'this horse is going places so strap yourself in for the ride.'"
Gaffney said it was a 'wonderful' win for all concerned - "he's a beautiful horse, it was a beautiful ride and they're great owners," she said.
Newitt said it was an emotional win. "It always is when you win your home-town cup," he said.
"A long-term plan has come off and this horse has got a great future."
Newitt equalled the riding record held by Max Baker who won six cups between 1970 and 1983 and Newhart broke the track record with a time of 1:54.46.
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