Warwick Farm trainer Bryce Heys is not fussed about his smart sprinter Spieth drawing barrier one in the thirteen horse field for the Group 1 $1.25m Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on Saturday.
Heys is not certain that the rails position is the place to be in the dash down the Flemington straight but will leave it up to Hugh Bowman to weave the right passage on Spieth who has been beaten a nose at his last two appearances in Group 1 company at Victoria’s premier track.
Brad Rawiller was aboard Spieth when he was nosed out by Malaguerra in the Group 1 $1m Darley Classic (1200m) during the 2016 Melbourne Spring Carnival and then the four year old resumed for the Autumn with Bowman in the saddle to fail by the same margin when second to Terravista in the Group 1 $750,000 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) on February 18.
“If I had the option of choosing a barrier for Spieth, the inside wouldn’t be my top choice,” Heys told racing.com.
“He is a horse that needs room but you never know how the race will unfold, it may work out on Saturday.
“I was of the opinion that he drew perfectly at his past two runs down the straight in the Darley Classic and Lightning, I thought he got the draws to find the right position but that doesn’t transpire to luck in running.
“Hughie (Bowman) will come up with a plan, he knows how to ride the straight course.
“I remember he produced a gem of a ride on Terravista to beat Chautauqua in the Darley Classic coming from the inside and weaving through, we will just need some luck on the day.”
Heys said that Spieth has recovered from his hard first up run in great style and gets a tremendous chance to breakthrough for his maiden Group 1 win in the Newmarket Handicap.
“He is right up to the mark, everything has gone to plan in terms of his preparation for this race, he has come through the first-up run as good as I could have hoped,” Heys said.
Last year’s Newmarket Handicap winner The Quarterback has drawn barrier seven and is up 3kg with Craig Newitt back in the saddle, taking over from Matthew Allen who partnered the six year old during the 2016 Spring.
The Lindsay Park trained pair of Sheidel and Redkirk Warrior have also drawn towards the inside at barriers three and four.
Damien Oliver is back on Sheidel who is coming off a last start win in the Group 1 $500,000 The Resimax Group Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield on February 25 when ridden by Hong Kong based Joao Moreira and Regan Bayliss will be aboard the former Hong Kong galloper Redkirk Warrior.
Hong Kong’s leading jockey the Magic Man, Joao Moreira, takes the ride on the Mick Price trained Extreme Choice who will jump from the outside of the thirteen horse field.
Moreira was originally booked to ride Flying Artie but when the Artie Schuller colt went amiss, Price switch him to the stablemate Extreme Choice.
Top weight Terravista is looking to make it back to back Group 1 wins down the Flemington straight and has drawn next to Extreme Choice at barrier twelve with Corey Brown in the saddle again.
Glen Boss is the new jockey on the Team Hawkes trained three year old Star Turn and will jump from barrier eleven with the winkers on, replacing the blinkers.
The Andrew Noblet trained Super Cash (barrier 9) is stepping up to Group 1 company after winning the Group 2 $200,000 Schweppes Rubiton Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on February 11 and has apprentice Ben Allen in the saddle taking over from the suspended Katelyn Mallyon.
Chris Waller has Counterattack in the Newmarket Handicap with Stephen Baster from barrier ten while Darren Weir also has only one runner in Voodoo Lad with Damian Lane to ride from gate two.
Sydney sprinter Spieth sits at the top of the Newmarket Handicap market order at $3.40 with Ladbrokes.com.au ahead of Extreme Choice at $5, Star Turn at $6.50 and Illustrious Lad at $8.