SUNDAY: BRAD Widdup sprang a $101 surprise on punters at Newcastle yesterday – but Hawkesbury’s leading trainer wasn’t shocked.
Making the best possible start to his racing career late in the season, Run For Glory (Blake Spriggs) won the 2YO Maiden Plate (1200m), overhauling $2.10 favorite Papal Warrior.
In clinching his 39th success since August 1, Widdup joined fellow trainer Jason Attard in preparing Hawkesbury’s longest-priced winner of the season (the latter scored with another $101 shot, seven-year-old mare Reiby Rhymer, at Bathurst on January 29).
“Though Run For Glory didn’t show up in two trials at Rosehill Gardens in May, his work has been a lot sharper since,” Widdup said this evening.
“I had him in at Hawkesbury a couple of weeks ago, but didn’t want to run him first-up on a heavy track.
“He galloped with Real Episode, who is pretty sharp, last Tuesday morning and worked well.
“I did think he would be competitive yesterday, especially when he paraded beforehand.
“He was the ultimate professional.”
Spriggs gave Run For Glory a nice run behind the pace and the gelding finished the race off strongly once he was able to get him into the clear.
Widdup trains Run For Glory for Hong Kong owner Mr Lai, for whom David Mee (Pinhook Bloodstock) outlaid $68,000 to secure him at last year’s Inglis Classic yearling sale.
“David rang and asked if I would like to train him, and naturally I was pleased to do so,” Widdup said.
Run For Glory is a son of Olympic Glory (by Choisir), an Irish-bred horse who was one of the top two-year-olds in Europe in 2012, winning four of his five starts (his sole defeat being a second to Dawn Approach in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot).
Run For Glory’s dam is the Iglesia mare Nayana, who won three races in New South Wales on provincial tracks.
“Run For Glory is a nice horse who weighs 540kg, and I believe he can improve further,” Widdup said.
“I’ll be very surprised if he doesn’t go on with it, and manage at least 1400m.”
. Whilst Widdup scored with Run For Glory on debut, fellow Hawkesbury trainer Karen Outtrim also produced a splendid performance to score first-up with Anne’s Gift at Nowra last Friday.
Anne’s Gift ($11) continued expatriate South African Keagan Latham’s superb run of form by climbing off the canvas to land the Benchmark 58 Handicap (1100m).
The Prince Arthur seven-year-old looked certain to be beaten when clearly headed in the straight, but fought back to defeat Dragoneight ($7) and Lord Boulevard ($6) to post the third win (he has also been placed 10 times) of his 39-start career.
“He is a real trier, and relishes the wet ground,” Outtrim said afterwards.
Two of Anne’s Gift’s three wins have been on a heavy track; the first at Gosford in March, 2017 in a Maiden Plate (1100m).
It was Outtrim’s fourth winner this season, and hers and Widdup’s Newcastle win took to 156 the number of winners prepared by Hawkesbury trainers so far in the 2018-19 racing year.