Jockey Craig Newitt is confident that classy mare Longport is the horse to beat in the Group 1 2013 Railway Stakes (1600m) at Ascot on Saturday.
Longport started her 2013 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with a ninth place finish behind Fontelina in the Group 2 Yellowglen Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on Victoria Derby Day before stamping herself as one of the favourites for the Railway Stakes by winning the Emirates Airline Handicap (1400m) in impressive fashion a week later.
The daughter of Casino Prince led from start to finish in the Emirates Airline Handicap and Newitt believes he will be able to get the mare into her favourite position at the front of the field without too much trouble this weekend.
“She is a top class mare who will roll forward, take up a spot, makes her own luck and give a good kick at the finish,” Newitt told TVN.
Smokin’ Joey is the favourite in 2013 Railway Stakes betting markets but, based on knowledge acquired riding the son of Encosta De Lago, Newitt believes that the Wez Hunter-trained gelding might be a false favourite.
Newitt has ridden Smokin’ Joey on three previous occasions, including his win in the Listed Super Saturday Stakes (1400m), and the leading jockey said that he has never seen the six-year-old string together three strong performances in a row.
“Obviously, if Smokin Joey runs up to his Emirates run he probably wins, but all the time I’ve known him and ridden him he’s never put two runs together,” Newitt said.
“He put two together at Flemington now he’s got to do it for the third time and this race is not normally run for back markers.”
Newitt has not had any past success in the Railway Stakes, missing the placings with Rightfully Yours (2008) and Corporate Bruce (2003), but is full of confidence that Longport can give him his first ever win in the $1 million Group 1 event.
“I think she is the one to beat,” Newitt said.
“She has been set for the race.
“She ran the fastest closing sectionals in the sprint (Yellowglen Stakes) then won really well on the last day of the carnival and drops 3.5kg here.”
Longport remains on the second line of betting markets at Railway Stakes odds of $6; with Smokin’ Joey still favourite at a quote of $5.