Nolen clings to championship lead
Craig Newitt kept his chances in the Melbourne jockeys' premiership alive with a last gasp win at Mornington on Wednesday.by AAP
By Mike Hedge
MELBOURNE, July 25 AAP - Craig Newitt kept his chances in the Melbourne jockeys' premiership alive with a last gasp win at Mornington on Wednesday.
But even at his most hopeful, Newitt admitted his chances of claiming his first title have all but vanished.
"My head's just above water," Newitt said.
Newitt's arch-rival Luke Nolen has a two-win lead in the championship with only Saturdays' Bletchingly Stakes meeting at Caulfield and Sunday's season-ending Grand National card at Sandown to come.
"It's going to be pretty hard now, Luke has a lot of good rides on the weekend," Newitt said.
Nolen began the Mornington meeting - which was classified as a metropolitan fixture - with 70 wins, two more than Newitt.
He suffered a setback in his plans to seal the contest when $2.50 second favourite La Tikka Rosa finished fourth in the opening event, only to hit back on $13 chance Overtake in the Mont Rouge Estate Hcp (1200m).
Another short-priced runner, On the Ball from the Peter Moody stable, looked a good chance to give Nolen a four-win lead but the filly who had won her maiden by 10 lengths on a heavy track at Pakenham couldn't run a place in the Centrebet Hcp (1200m).
Newitt then reduced his deficit to two by winning aboard Shabangabang in the Total Event Solutions Hcp (1000m).