MICHAEL Formosa will be happy if Stitch can make the Bathurst Gold Crown consolation for his famous connections on Saturday night.
Formosa won the two-year-old race with Ultimate Art in 2012 and is back with Stitch, which is part-owned by top gallops trainer Kris Lees and golf great Jack Newton. Stitch has gate one in heat two but Formosa said Rocknroll Emma and Ultimate Art were his main carnival hopes. Ultimate Art was second to Medowie trainer Darren Reay’s Better Than Max on Wednesday and backs up next Saturday. Rocknroll Emma won ahead of Monday’s Gold Bracelet heats. At Newcastle Saturday night, Formosa has The Puritan and Dance On Ice racing.
The Ellalong trainer-driver said Stitch, which is also part-owned by former Newcastle pacing club boss Dick Maclean and trainer Ray Harkness, was the least likely of his Bathurst trio after an eighth at Menangle and fifth at Newcastle to start his race career.
“He goes OK but he’s probably not up to this class,” Formosa said.
“We’ve brought him up here more to get some experience. Hopefully he gets through the run well and if he makes the consolation race, I’ll be more than happy with that.
“Rocknroll Emma is going really good at the moment and won well on Wednesday night. She’ll be a good chance in the three-year-old series.
“Ultimate Art is really good, and they are my main two chances here.
“Darren’s horse beat him first-up last preparation as well and he’s an underrated horse and very dangerous with the right run.
“He broke the track record and they’ll probably meet again in the fast-class race next Saturday night.”
Better Than Max beat Ultimate Art by 1.6 metres to win the $8480 Hondo Grattan Sprint (1730 metres) in 1.52.7 on Wednesday night.
Former Keinbah trainers Shane and Lauren Tritton’s My Sweetchilliphilly was the dominant winner of the Gold Tiara two-year-old fillies heats, clocking 1.55.3.
As for Newcastle, Formosa hoped for an improved showing from My Puritan, which joined his stable in recent weeks and was a disappointing sixth on debut for him at Newcastle on March 11.
The gelding races in the third of 10 events on the Newcastle program, which will be in doubt because of the wet weather.