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PROMISING FILLY MAKES SUCCESSFUL COMEBACK

MONDAY: February 17, 2020: THE transfer of today’s scheduled Cessnock meeting to the Beaumont track at Newcastle proved a bonus for Brad Widdup.

Lightly-raced filly Icebath ($2.05 favorite) made a successful return to racing, landing the Maiden Handicap (1150m) and giving Hawkesbury’s leading trainer his 21st success of the season.

Widdup chose the Beaumont race for his three-year-old filly when the meeting was moved last week from Cessnock.

“I wouldn’t have run her at Cessnock, but was happy to go to Newcastle when I found out about the transfer,” Widdup said this afternoon on his way home.

“We had a few options with Icebath.

“I also accepted with her at Nowra yesterday, but that was merely a back-up plan, and also considered a 3YO Maiden Plate (1250m) at Canterbury on Friday night and a Provincial & Country Maiden Handicap (1200m) at Newcastle on Saturday.”

Initially a $100,000 purchase at the 2018 Inglis Classic yearling sale, Icebath is a daughter of dual Doncaster Mile winner Sacred Falls (2013 and 2014) from the Savabeel mare Fabulist.

Widdup has held a good opinion of the filly, and started her last season as a two-year-old in black type races, the Group 2 Sweet Embrace Stakes (won by Anaheed) and Group 3 Magic Night Stakes (won by subsequent Golden Slipper Stakes winner Kiamichi), at Rosehill Gardens.

However, she has been sidelined since finishing second in a Wyong Maiden (1200m) on July 23 last year.

“We found she had chips in both her front fetlocks, and required an operation to remove them,” Widdup explained.

“Icebath is now raced by a syndicate which includes well-known sporting commentator David Basheer and his brother Simon, and David McGrath and his Dad.

“They have been patient with the filly, and it was satisfying to get a result for them today.”

. Widdup was pleased with the first-up performances of another two of his three-year-old fillies, Akari (seventh) and Darling Point (ninth), in the Group 2 Light Fingers Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick last Saturday.

Provided Akari continues to do well, she will line up in the $500,000 Group 1 Surround Stakes (1400m) there on Saturday week, whilst Widdup hasn’t yet finalised Darling Point’s next assignment.

. HOOFNOTE: Widdup has a younger two-year-old half-brother (by Headwater) to Magic Albert mare Dreaming Of Gold, who was runner-up to Icebath today.

Johannesburg mare Johanski, the dam of the unraced youngster and Dreaming Of Gold, is owned by Frank Meduri, with whom Widdup goes back a long way.

When working for trainer Brian Smith, he was the personal attendant of 1995 ATC Oaks winner Circles Of Gold, part-owned by Meduri.

Circles Of Gold (who died in 2016 at 25 years of age) was runner-up to Arctic Scent in the 1996 Caulfield Cup, and her son Elvstroem (by Danehill) made amends by capturing the Group 1 classic eight years later.