SUNDAY: June 2, 2019: YOU’RE only as good as your next performance!
Bearing that in mind, Brad Widdup is keeping a lid on yesterday’s impressive Kembla Grange winner Rare Episode until he shapes up against the city slickers in a few weeks.
Hawkesbury’s leading trainer made it 36 wins for the season when Rare Episode ($2 favorite) humped 60.5kg and outsped his rivals in the Benchmark 70 Handicap (1000m), boosting his tally to four successes (and three placings) from only nine starts.
Despite being taken on in front, the three-year-old left his opposition with no excuses at all. Ridden by Chad Lever, he raced home two and a half lengths ahead of runner-up Epic Dan; his second success from his last three starts.
The merit of Rare Episode’s performance can be gauged from the fact that he gave up to 9.5kg to his rivals and clocked 55.87secs for the 1000m, reeling off a slick 32.29s for the last 600m.
Widdup, not one to get carried away too quickly with his horses until they have proven themselves in better company, is treating the gelding’s success with cautious optimism.
“Rare Episode is going well, but he has to now show that he can do it again in town,” he said today.
“He had a Benchmark 69 rating before he won yesterday, and I’ll have to wait and see how much his rating goes up.
“But most likely I’ll have to take him to town for a Benchmark 78 Handicap (1000m) at Randwick on June 22.
“There aren’t any suitable midweek races for him in the next few weeks.
“I’ll keep him to 1000m and 1100m races for now.”
Rare Episode’s four provincial wins have all been at that distance; two at 1000m and the same at 1100m.
He has started only once previously in town; at the end of his first campaign when fifth (beaten just under a length) to Zidane in a Benchmark 70 Handicap (1100m) against his own sex at Canterbury on November 30 last year.
Widdup shouldered the blame for Rare Episode’s first-up fifth to another Hawkesbury sprinter Captain Courageous in a Class 2 Handicap (1000m) at Hawkesbury on April 9, saying he had him “a bit too big”, being a good doer in the stable.
He subsequently sent the gelding back to the trials, and his three runs since have produced wins at Hawkesbury (May 9) and Kembla yesterday, with a third under 60.5kg in a Benchmark 70 Handicap (1200m) at Newcastle on May 18 in between.
. Widdup is undecided whether to give stablemate Love My Cashews a break or try for another win.
The lightly-raced Star Witness mare won her first two starts at Gosford and Kembla Grange before an excellent third to Handspun in a Benchmark 70 Handicap (1300m) at Warwick Farm last Wednesday at her city debut.