Jockey Craig Newitt is hoping for a track upgrade to help the chances of Observational in the Listed $200,000 Sungold Milk Warrnambool Cup (2350m) at Warrnambool on Thursday.
The three day annual Warrnambool Carnival is well under way with day two on Wednesday seeing the running of the Listed $150,000 Wangoon Handicap (1200m) on a heavy 8 track.
While the track is still rated in the heavy range, Newitt is hoping the surface can improved for Warrnambool Cup Race Day to boost the chances of Observational whose only wet track experience has been a win and a second from three attempts on a soft track.
“Our biggest concern was whether he would get through the genuine heavy track because he’s never really been on it, but the way the track looks at the moment, it doesn’t look that bad,” Newitt told AAP.
“So I’d expect him to be very hard to beat.
“I think there’s only two or three chances in the race.
“I think there’s quite a few making up the numbers but my bloke will be genuinely hard to beat.”
Newitt takes over the reins from the suspended Tom Sadler who rode the six year old to victory last start for his father, trainer John Sadler, in the Group 3 $150,000 Le Pine Funerals Easter Cup (2000m) at Caulfield on April 15.
Observational is chasing a hat trick of wins in the Warrnambool Cup after winning the Listed $150,000 Golden Mile (1600m) at Bendigo on April 1 at his previous start with Newitt on board.
Newitt had been originally booked to ride the David Brideoake trained Self Sense in the Warrnambool Cup but the Street Sense gelding was sidelined with an injury leaving the top Melbourne jockey available when John Sadler offered him the mount on Observational.
“So I was left without a ride but then Johnny rang me and told me Tom had been suspended,” Newitt said.
“So it was a good pick-up for me.”
Observational has the task of carrying the top weight of 60kg in the Warrnambool Cup and is likely to take up a position in the back half of the field from barrier nine.
The Darren Weir trained High Church, with Damian Lane in the saddle, heads the market order for the Warrnambool Cup at $3.20 with Ladbrokes.com.au ahead of Observational at $4.40 and Craig Williams’ mount Grey Lion at $7.