Ricky Blewitt teamed up with Parkes trainer Sharon Jeffries on Saturday when guiding Jin Chi Phantom to victory in the Tottenham Picnic Cup.
Blewitt led all the way on the six-year-old, delivering connections a strong win in the $6,500 feature over 1400m, beating home the Connie Greig-trained pair of Gossip (Leandro Ribeiro) and Valadyium (Will Stanley).
“It was a good win,” Blewitt told NSW Country and Picnic Racing.
“He jumped and sort of went to the front, and they let us sort of dawdle in front and we got to the 400m and quickened and it’s only a short little straight at Tottenham and we were able to hold them off.”
The six-year-old pulled a bit hard at Condobolin the start prior, finishing fifth to Valadyium in the Condo Cup and Blewitt said he was able to take control and give the Tavistock gelding a good run in front.
“He tugged a bit hard and got out in front but once I got into it and got hold of him, he didn’t over race and done it pretty easy,” Blewitt said.
“It was a good win.”
Blewitt was pleased to land the win for connections and especially Tiffany Jeffries’ husband, Alex Prout, who owns the Parkes galloper.
“Tiff’s partner owns it, and he was stoked,” Blewitt said.
“They are only picnic races but seeing their smile and seeing them celebrating was good and it is what racing should be about.”
Blewitt has won most, if not all picnic cups in NSW, and the 43-year-old believed Jin Chi Phantom’s win was his third or fourth Tottenham Cup success.
“I have been riding for a fair while now,” Blewitt laughed.
“I think I’ve won nearly all of them, but I’ve won that race two or three times and it was good to win again.”
Blewitt wasn’t in action at Bedgerabong and Condobolin earlier this season, with the champion picnic hoop only returning at Tottenham once he was confident picnic racing would continue on a regular basis in 2022.
“Without a doubt it’s good to be back, but half the reason I missed the first couple meetings was because I was a bit heavy and I didn’t want to do it too tough to get back for a couple of meetings, especially not knowing if it was going to continue,” Blewitt said.
“It looks like we are back to normal, and I’ve got my weight down, so I’ll keep going at them for the time being.”
Blewitt, who rides trackwork full time, said it wasn’t hard to keep fit, but with a dozen picnic hoops on the scene, he didn’t know if he would be venturing as far and wide as he has in previous seasons, although he stressed that he would be riding up north.
“I ride work nearly every day of the week, which does help with the weight, so I’m good there,” Blewitt said.
“I will get to a few (meetings) but how it is now, there are a fair few riders, so I’m not sure how far I will travel.
“In the past, riders have been pretty scarce, and it made it hard for trainers, especially if tracks got the noms (nominations), but there are plenty of riders out there at the moment.
“I will ride at Moree and with Peter Sinclair. I love riding up that way and for Peter – he is a great bloke and trainer and he has a great bunch of owners who love their racing.”
It was another big day of picnic racing at Tottenham, with Leandro Ribeiro riding yet another treble, while Connie Greig trained a double.
Readers wanting to check out full results from Tottenham can click here.