Mark Newnham is targeting a top-10 finish in the Sydney training premiership, which could be secured at Randwick on Saturday if Sweet Victory, Invictus Salute and Aim For Perfection can deliver on potential.
Exceed The Stars became his 100th winner in just his third year as a trainer at Canterbury on Wednesday. The gelding was his 18th city winner, and the future looks bright for the former jockey who has had two group 1 winners this season.
“The idea is to build each year and our stock is getting better and the majority of horses we have now have been in the stable from the start of their careers,” Newnham said.
“I would love to finish in the top 10 and Saturday could be very important for that because I have horses that are knocking on the door for a win in the right races.”
Sweet Victory is three runs into her preparation and Newnham warned punters to forget about her last run, saying “shes due.”
“I thought her first two fourths were really good runs. Then last start she just got caught wide and back in the field in a leader-dominated race,” he said. “She had no chance.
“She has a good gate and should be more forward and she has a good record on wet ground.
“It is one of those days where I think could get a couple of winners but wouldn't be surprised to go home with nothing.”
Punters agree with Newnham's assessment of his chances with Sweet Victory and Aim For Perfection early favourites.
Newnham has a bit of time for Aim For Perfection as she gets back to a big track. She started her career with two wins at Newcastle before having trouble getting around Canterbury last time when she was third to Missteed.
”I think the big track and the 1400m are both in her favour,” Newnham said. “Shell be able to use the good gate to advantage and be closer on Saturday.
“She has no weight and I think she will be very hard to beat.”
Invictus Salute is the third member of the team Newnham feels like has her hoof on the till. Since he took the blinkers after her Scone failure in the Denises Joy Stakes she has been placed at Rosehill and Randwick.
“She has just been racing really consistently and ran into a good one [Spiritual Pursuit] the other day. We hope her turn is going to come,” Newnham said. “That last run showed something different because she went back.
“She probably got a bit further back than I thought she would but she ran on well. She is not one-dimensional and in a race with plenty of speed she will get her chance.”
Newnham is starting to get excited about the upcoming spring as his stars return to the fold. Surround Stakes winner Nakeeta Jane is set to trial at the end of the month and is on an Epsom path before Newnham will make a decision whether to stay in Sydney or go to Melbourne.