SUNDAY: January 5, 2020: RARE Episode continues to be a wonderful advertisement for the stable of Hawkesbury’s leading trainer Brad Widdup.
The New Zealand-bred four-year-old broke through for his first Saturday metropolitan success on the Kensington track yesterday to provide his trainer with his 18th win of the season.
Cleverly taking advantage of mature apprentice Billy Owen’s 3kg claim – which almost certainly was the difference between victory and defeat – Widdup landed the Benchmark 78 Handicap (1000m).
Rare Episode ($4.40) became the first horse to win from the inside barrier over the 1000m on the Kensington track in the last 12 months.
Owen let eventual third placegetter Clear The Beach ($6.50) make the pace and overhauled him in the straight before gamely holding out the late burst of runner-up Twirling Moss ($21) to score narrowly.
It was the sixth win of Rare Episode’s 15-start career to date; four at the provincials and two in town.
Rare Episode did not race as a two-year-old, making his debut as an early three-year-old in winning a Maiden Plate (1100m) at Gosford in October, 2018 as a $1.35 hotpot.
He has since won twice at Kembla Grange (both over 1000m), on his home track at Hawkesbury over 1100m, and a midweeker at Warwick Farm last July over 1200m prior to his Kensington victory.
Rare Episode was purchased at the 2017 NZB Premier Yearling Sale (Lot 411) by Kitchwin Hills’ Mick Malone for $100,000, and is raced jointly by Max Whitby and Neil Werrett.
His ill-fated sire, 2013 Australian Guineas winner Ferlax, died at Haunui Farm in New Zealand in January, 2017 after sustaining a serious paddock injury.
His first yearlings, including Rare Episode, were offered at the Premier Sale just over a week after his death.
Widdup, who arrived at the Gold Coast late this afternoon for the Magic Millions yearling sale this week along with Saturday’s feature Magic Millions race meeting, acknowledged Rare Episode’s value to his stable.
“He has certainly been a terrific performer for us, winning 40 per cent of his races to date,” he said.
“We’ll look for another suitable race for him in the coming weeks.”
Rare Episode was Widdup’s 115th career winner in only his third full season of training.
He also confirmed his smart mare Adelong, who suffered her first defeat yesterday at the Kensington meeting in finishing second to Lashes (to whom she conceded 1.5kg) in a Benchmark 78 Handicap (1100m) for fillies and mares, is having a break.
“She ran well and has done enough for the time being,” he said.
. Widdup has sent three horses to Queensland to represent him at the Magic Millions meeting.
He intends running Cubed and Vulpine in the $250,000 Maiden Plate (1200m) and Junglized in the $1m MM Snippets (1200m).
“The horses were sent to Queensland last Wednesday, and have settled in really well,” Widdup said.