In-form Jockey Craig Newitt is confident of a third Group 1 triumph for classy mare Samaready despite respiratory problems forcing a less-than-ideal end to her 2013 spring preparation.
Partnering the daughter of More Than Ready to victory in the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1200m) in September, an exercise-induced haemorrhage caused noticeable trouble to Samaready during the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) and while amazing not finishing at the rear of the field, forced an immediate spell to resolve all issues.
Newitt told Racing Victoria News that the four-year-old appears to have completely overcome all issues and is more than a chance when lining up for the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington on Saturday.
“She’s going really well and her work has indicated that she’s over the mishap that she had at Moonee Valley” Newitt said.
“I don’t think she’s improved a hell of a lot, but I don’t think she needs to improve.
“She gets in brilliantly against this field at weight-for-age, she’s drawn a good gate, she should get a good smother and I think she has only got to turn up at her best and she wins.”
Having experienced previous success in the Lightning Stakes aboard classy mare Miss Andretti in 2007, Newitt believes the class of Samaready is well and truly in line with that of the Ihtiram mare who claimed an impressive 19 wins from 31 starts.
“Miss Andretti was sound, she never had any issues” he added.
“Samaready has always had issues even from her late two-year-old days.
“At their best, she’s compare with Miss Andretti. I think she’s the same sort of class.
Despite having never claimed victory at Group 1 level, Newitt considers John O’Shea-trained three-year-old Bernabeu as the competitor offering the most chance of an upset, notably claiming the 1000m Flemington Fling down the famous Flemington straight in his last start on Melbourne Cup day.
“I think the horse to beat is Bernabeu, he trialled sensationally down the straight the other day.”
While believing Samaready has fellow-Group 1 champion Shamexpress covered for skill, he remains weary of the proven threat of the O’reilly entire.
Exiting hopefuls Boomwaa and Bugatty will become the first two-year-olds to contest the Lightning Stakes since Clever Zoe in 1993, however Newitt added he does not hold much hope for a maiden Group 1 title for either this weekend.
“He’s (Shamexpress) always a threat down the straight because he races so well there.
“I think the only hope the two-year-olds have got of winning the race is to run the field ragged out in front with only 46kgs on their backs” Newitt said.
Samaready is the current pre-post favourite for the 2014 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes ahead of Gerald Ryan-trained Snitzerland and Bernabeu.