An emotional Craig Newitt was elated to win a record seventh Devonport Cup on Newhart at Spreyton on Wednesday but was cautious when talking about future plans for the locally-trained star.
"This is a race I try to target every year," Newitt said after the $3.60 favourite had to pull out all stops to score narrowly from outsiders Galway Girl and White Cliffs.
"It means a lot to me ... as I was pulling up down the back straight, I took a few moments to re-group my thoughts.
"It takes a special horse to win back-to-back Devonport Cups and the owners have probably now got the Hobart and Launceston cups in mind.
"But I'm a little hesitant as to whether this horse is going to get that sort of trip (2400m) being as keen as he is.
"I think 1880m to 1900m might be his limit."
Newitt said he went into the race full of confidence but conscious that Newhart had been "too aggressive" in his lead-up races.
"I was focused on getting him to switch off for the first half of the race," he said.
"I was pretty happy going past the post the first time because he had lobbed into a good spot.
"But he did get a little bit keen going down the hill so I moved out three or four deep with cover.
"I thought he was going to win a long way out but the second horse did kick on strongly in the straight.
"He was giving her a bit of weight but he proved the class runner."
Newhart, raced by a Star Thoroughbreds syndicate managed by Denise Martin, has now won two Devonport Cups for trainer Leanne Gaffney after beginning his career in the Barry Campbell stable.
Newitt has ridden him both times, after earlier Devonport Cup wins on Chardere in 2002, Dream Quest in 2003, Chardere in 2004, With Decorum in 2010 and Eastender in 2019.
He had previously shared the riding record with Max Baker.
Newitt is only the fourth jockey to have won the race three years in a row and he has now done that twice.
Prior to Newitt, the most recent rider to achieve the feat was Bill Eder in the mid-1970s.
Newhart is the first horse since Brallos in 1976-77 to have won the Devonport Cup two years in a row.
The winner was slightly easy in the betting but held favourtism ahead of well backed runners Dark Wanderer ($4), Shot Of Irish ($4.40) and Gee Gee Fiorente ($5) who all raced on the pace but couldn't finish off.
Dark Wanderer led early but was given no peace while Gee Gee Fiorente had a torrid run.