SUNDAY: December 8, 2019: HAWKESBURY trainers travelled far and wide at the weekend to collect four races.
Brooke Somers got the ball rolling at last Friday’s Mudgee Cup Showcase meeting, Craig Weeding went even further to win at Albury yesterday whilst Garry Frazer and Brad Widdup clinched wins at the Newcastle meeting.
Somers notched her fifth success of the season when lightly-raced Wandjina three-year-old Budhwar ($1.60 favorite) took the 3YO Maiden Plate (1100m) at Mudgee.
Jockey Aaron Bullock had Budhwar away smartly, made the running and then kept him going in the straight to narrowly hold out $8 chance Testing Times.
Somers, who began training in 2016-17, achieved a personal best six winners last season and has nearly reached that mark with the current season just over four months old.
She has a loftier goal in mind for Budhwar, who will have a break before being aimed at the $1m Inglis Sprint (1200m) for three-year-olds at Warwick Farm on February 8.
Weeding opened his winning account for the season with Bell Serenade ($4.40) in the Class 1 Handicap (1175m) at Albury yesterday.
Ridden by Jake Duffy, Bell Serenade beat $4 favorite Hazel’s Diary and $26 outsider Lots Of Dots.
Weeding has done an excellent job with the Your Song five-year-old, who has had a number of previous trainers.
He has had him in his care for only five starts for yesterday’s win and three placings.
Bell Serenade had been placed at three of his first four starts for Weeding, and the long drive home no doubt would have been enjoyable.
Bell Serenade’s only previous success was in a 1200m Maiden at Wyong in April last year.
His 30-start career so far has also yielded eight placings (seven of them seconds).
Frazer took a lot of satisfaction from Graceful Zarifa’s breakthrough at Newcastle yesterday.
A daughter of Magic Albert, she was having only her sixth start in the Maiden Handicap (1400m) for four-year-olds and upwards.
Ridden by Grant Buckley, Graceful Zarifa ($5.50) was tenacious in holding out Coffs Harbour visitor Collingwood ($4.80).
Another Hawkesbury runner, Jamie Thomsen’s Prototype ($9), was third.
Frazer earlier had a good opinion of Graceful Zarifa, who performed well in her first three trials last year on her home track.
But trouble struck when she was returning home after a subsequent Rosehill Gardens trial.
“She went off in the truck, and cut herself,” Frazer explained today.
“The worst part was bruising, and it took a long time to get her right.
“Graceful Zarifa didn’t race up to expectations at her first few runs, although she was runner-up at Nowra (but beaten clearly) in March, and I gave her a good spell.
“She ran second first-up at Bathurst without a lead-up trial, and with that race under her belt, I thought she would be hard to beat at Newcastle.
“It was a very pleasing result, especially as my wife Julie races the mare.”
Frazer will look for another suitable race for Graceful Zarifa in the coming weeks, and also reported his now retired Group 1 winning mare Spright is in foal to Zoustar.
“Spright always did everything right when she was in work, and got into foal straight away in September,” he said.
Widdup, Hawkesbury’s leading trainer, made it 13 wins for the season when Trengganu (Koby Jennings) easily won the Maiden Plate (1200m) later on the Newcastle program.
Having only his third start, the three-year-old son of former top sprinter Brazen Beau was well supported to start at $4 and powered past $2.90 favorite California August over the concluding stages.
Aptly-named Trengganu (a street in Singapore’s Chinatown district), is raced by China Horse Club, and Widdup is hoping his success leads to him getting more horses to train from them.
“He is the only horse I have for China Horse Club at present, and the first horse I have had for them right from the start.
“I have taken my time with Trengganu, and I feel he is pretty handy and can manage further.”
Widdup has confirmed plans for stablemates Sandbar and Junglized to head to the Magic Millions meeting at the Gold Coast for the $1m MM Snippets (1200m) on January 11.
Sandbar will be sent north later this week to run in the Falvelon Quality (1200m) at Eagle Farm on Saturday week prior to his Gold Coast assignment.
. Widdup’s apprentice Qin Yong has covered plenty of kilometres in the last couple of days.
He rode at the Mudgee Cup Showcase meeting on Friday, and was narrowly beaten on $16 chance Redirect in the final event, then stayed overnight in the country and headed to Gunnedah yesterday.
The trip was worthwhile, scoring on Gunnedah-trained Malzoom ($4) for trainer Gavin Groth in the Benchmark 58 Handicap (1300m).