FRIDAY: April 24, 2020: BRAD Widdup is banking on the “Boss magic” clinching him a belated autumn black type victory at Rosehill Gardens tomorrow.
Icebath in the Group 3 Blacktown Workers Club Group Hawkesbury Guineas (1400m) is the leading Hawkesbury trainer’s sole representative at his home club’s stand alone meeting, transferred because of the COVID-19 crisis.
Not only is he hoping to celebrate a Group breakthrough in Sydney this autumn, but also end a frustrating sequence of second placings, including Icebath’s luckless run in the Listed South Pacific Classic (1400m) at Royal Randwick on April 11 on Day 2 of The Championships.
Widdup has had five seconds – Adelong the latest at Canterbury two days ago – in the last fortnight and three of them have been in town.
Proven big race specialist Boss has been called up to get the job done tomorrow, and Widdup has given the daughter of dual Doncaster Mile winner Sacred Falls his tick of approval on the eve of the Guineas.
“I’ve always been confident Icebath could measure up in black type company; that’s why I ran her in a couple of Group races 12 months ago as a two-year-old,” he said this morning.
“It was very disappointing to see her get beaten the other day.
“She has had a good preparation and has trained on well since the Randwick race.
“I’m really happy with her, but almost certainly this will be her last run this preparation.
“There are some excellent races next season for four-year-old mares, and I’m certain there is further improvement in her.”
Icebath has raced only once at Rosehill, when down the track behind subsequent Golden Slipper winner Kiamichi in the Group 3 Magic Night Stakes (1200m) in March last year on very heavy ground.
“Whenever possible, you’re always trying to get black type with fillies, and she was going well at the time.
“But we stopped with her after that run on the heavy track.”
Widdup has done a splendid job with Icebath, who required an operation when it was discovered she had chips in both front fetlocks after finishing second at Wyong last July at the end of her two-year-old season.
In what is certain to be a keenly contested Guineas, Icebath this morning was $5 favorite with TAB.com.au, narrowly ahead of Indy Car ($5.50), who beat her home at Randwick a fortnight ago.
Under the set weights plus penalties conditions tomorrow, Widdup’s filly meets Indy Car 2.5kg better.
Shazee Lee (Jay Ford) was the last Hawkesbury filly to win the Guineas in 2017. She was prepared then by Scott Singleton, who has since relocated to Scone.
Whilst Widdup’s focus naturally will be on Rosehill, he also is hoping to clinch a breakthrough with Liam’s The Boss at tomorrow’s Gosford meeting.
The three-year-old also was an acceptor for the Bathurst TAB fixture, but a wide barrier made the decision easy for his trainer to head to Gosford with the gelding, whom Mitchell Bell will ride in the Maiden Plate (1900m).
Liam’s The Boss has been runner-up on three occasions, and also ran well in Melbourne last spring when fourth to Pancho (current South Australian Derby favorite Russian Camelot was second) in a Listed 1800m event for three-year-olds at Flemington.
. Hawkesbury husband and wife training partnerships Jason Attard and Lucy Keegan-Attard and Mitch and Desiree Kearney also are represented at tomorrow’s meeting.
Team Attard and Team Kearney have Shadow Flight (Jason Collett) and Mandalong Tapit (James Innes Jnr) contesting the Kokoda Benchmark 78 Handicap (2000m), and Innes also rides Gimme Shelter for the Kearneys in the Listed Hawkesbury XXXX Gold Rush (1100m).
. Another training partnership, Hall of Famer John Hawkes and sons Michael and Wayne, cleaned up at the 2014 stand alone fixture, winning the Guineas with Chautauqua and Gold Cup with Leebaz.
And the team is hoping for a repeat tomorrow with Spend (James McDonald) in the Guineas and pre-post favorite Amangiri (Tommy Berry) in the Group 3 Chalkers Accountants Hawkesbury Gold Cup (1500m).
Team Hawkes also won the 2018 Cup with Kingsguard, ridden by Brenton Avdulla.