Top Melbourne jockey Craig Newitt will return home to Tasmania to ride Up Cups in the Group 3 $200,000 Hobart Cup (2400m) at Hobart on Sunday.
Newitt grew up in Tasmania before making the successful move to ride in Melbourne as an apprentice in 2002 and returns home regularly to ride at the racing carnivals.
This year he is aboard the David Brunton trained Up Cups who will be searching for back to back Hobart Cup wins after David Pires scored on the six year old last year.
Up Cups will carry the top weight of 58kg in the final field of ten but has been struggling to find the winner’s stall since winning the 2016 Group 3 $200,000 Launceston Cup (2400m) at Launceston after his Hobart Cup win.
The Helike gelding’s best recent form was a second two starts back in the 2100m Quality at Hobart on January 6 followed by a sixth in the $50,000 Summer Cup (2200m) at Hobart on January 22.
Summer Cup trifecta Geegees Goldengirl, Count Da Vinci and Settler’s Stone will all clash again in the Hobart Cup.
Sigrid Currie rides the Stuart Gandy trained Geegees Goldengirl, last year’s Hobart Cup winning jockey David Pires rides Count Da Vinci while Jarrod Todd sticks with Settler’s Stone.
Big Duke has worked his way up through the grades with wins at his last two starts in an 1800m BenchMark 78 Handicap at Caulfield on December 26 and in a 2040m BenchMark 78 Handicap at Moonee Valley on January 21.
Lee and Anthony Freedman will also send Cool Chap to Hobart for the Cup after the four year old finished second to Big Duke at Moonee Valley with Kerrin McEvoy getting the ride while Luke Currrie rides the Tony McEvoy trained Lucky Lucky Lucky.