Latest News @ Hawkesbury

WIDDUP "SWITCHED ON" FOR A WINNING MELBOURNE CUP DAY DEBUT

WEDNESDAY: October 30, 2019: BRAD Widdup pulled the right rein with today’s Hawkesbury winner Switched, then headed to Melbourne to put the finishing touches to his first Melbourne Cup Day runner at Flemington.

Widdup clinched his ninth victory of the new season when All Too Hard filly Switched ($2.60 favorite) took the ILG F&M Benchmark 64 Handicap (1100m) before later flying to Melbourne to work another talented filly Akari at Flemington in the morning.

The last start Royal Randwick Reginald Allen Quality winner chases a hat-trick in the Listed Jim Beam Black Stakes (1400m) there on Tuesday, and will be ridden by James McDonald.

Widdup was a very popular man at Hawkesbury as Switched is raced by a ladies’ syndicate, including his wife Milissa, along with Christine Cook, Camilla Flower, Beba Lester, Jenny Moses, Ash Payne, Jennifer Laird and Barbara Bennett.

A $110,000 purchase (Lot 50) at last year’s Inglis Classic yearling sale, Switched has raced only four times and never been out of the money, winning twice and being placed twice.

A debut winner at Kembla Grange in May, she was subsequently placed twice at Randwick, the latest behind classy Funstar, recent winner of both the Group 2 Tea Rose Stakes and Group 1 Flight Stakes at the latter track.

With Widdup’s brother-in-law Christian Reith aboard, Switched kept in close contact with leader and eventual third placegetter Sally’s Day ($5), and had enough in reserve to hold off Super Oasis ($3.60).

“I also nominated her for a similar race at Gosford tomorrow, and decided to stay at home,” Widdup explained.

“There wasn’t another suitable race for her in the next week or so.

“I’ve got no doubt there is further improvement in her. She had a good blow after the race.

“Christian had to ride her up close today when the pace was muddling early, but feels Switched will be even better when she can be ridden with cover off the pace.”

Milissa Widdup explained that Switched doesn’t fancy the heat, hence her husband’s decision to start her on her home track today rather than head up the freeway to Gosford tomorrow.

“Brad made the right call by running the filly at home, and she was back in her stable opposite the back straight not long afterwards,” she said.

Widdup runs smart sprinter Sandbar (Reith) in the Benchmark 88 Handicap (1100m) at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday before saddling Akari at Flemington on Tuesday.

Stable employee Nerissa Copp travelled to Melbourne on Sunday with the filly, who has settled in well in her new surroundings.

“I’m confident in Akari’s ability,” Widdup said. “I’m sure she will run well on Tuesday.”

Hawkesbury’s leading trainer’s only previous Melbourne Cup carnival representative was the now retired four-times winner Za Zi Ba, who finished sixth at $81 in the Group 3 Begonia Belle Stakes (1100m) on Derby day last year.