Craig Newitt knows a good sprinter when he sits on one and he’s convinced Lofty Strike is just that.
Newitt has ridden sprinters of the calibre of Miss Andretti, Lankan Rupee and Extreme Choice and after Saturday’s Oakleigh Plate he is hoping Julius Sandhu’s colt can join the Group 1 club.
The 37-year-old will be chasing his 34th G1 triumph on Saturday and is convinced he’s got the horse to do it.
“By the time he’s finished he’ll be a Group 1 winner for sure,” Newitt said.
“He’s all class and has high acceleration when you ask him and he has a great attitude to go with it.
“I have no doubt he’s going to reach the elite level.”
WATCH: Lofty Strike win the Rubiton Stakes
Newitt partnered the son of Snitzel, who is out of Golden Slipper winner Overreach, in a gallop at Sandown on Tuesday morning and was glowing in his praise of the horse’s improvement heading into Saturday.
Newitt first rode the horse in the VRC Classic last spring when he finished a length behind Nature Strip, before resuming and breaking the course record in the Rubiton Stakes.
“We went into that race thinking he would improve fitness-wise and he’s definitely done that,” Newitt reported after the work.
“His work was better today than it was heading into the Rubiton, so pretty exciting.
“Hopefully we can draw that middle to outside gate and keep him out of trouble and I’m sure he will do the rest.
“With a big field and lots of pressure up front, he will relax a lot better and his acceleration is second to none, so I am sure with clear running he will take a power of beating.
“I am excited the race is run here rather than Caulfield, I think this track suits him a lot better.”
Newitt partnered Snitzel to win the Oakleigh Plate in 2006 and Lankan Rupee to victory in the same race eight years later.
Lofty Strike is a $6.50 chance with Sportsbet.