SUNDAY: October 20, 2019: BATHURST one day, Royal Randwick the next…..and now for fabulous Flemington!
Hawkesbury’s leading trainer Brad Widdup has set his sights on a Melbourne breakthrough on, of all days, Melbourne Cup day (November 5).
Widdup clinched his initial Randwick black type success with beautifully-bred filly Akari yesterday on Everest day, and intends heading south with her to tackle the Listed Jim Beam Black Stakes (1400m) against her own age and sex (to be run at set weights plus penalties).
In the process, he is hoping to also make it a hat-trick for NSW fillies as Our Crown Mistress scored for Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott in 2017 and James Cummings’ Pohutakawa won last year.
Akari ($7.50), ridden by Widdup’s brother-in-law Christian Reith, made the jump from winning a Wyong Maiden at her previous start to stamping her ability on the big stage in the Listed Reginald Allen Quality (1400m).
She was tenacious over the last 200m to hold out Betcha Flying ($7.50) and Mayaaseh ($11).
It was only her fifth start and she has never been out of a placing.
“Christian gave Akari a good ride, and it was great to get such a wonderful result, especially in view of her pedigree,” Widdup said today.
“She had a good grounding for the 1400m, with two trials and two lead-up races under her belt.
“All going well, we will have a crack at the Flemington race on Melbourne Cup day, but I have no doubt she will be better next preparation.
“Even though she won yesterday, she didn’t really know how to put them away. There is definitely further improvement in her.
“I’ve always thought she could win nice races, and it’s satisfying to see her going the right way.”
Akari fetched $1,050,000 at last year’s Inglis Australian Easter yearling sale, and is raced jointly by Jadeskye and Werrett Bloodstock.
“Damion Flower (Jadeskye) and Neil Werrett (Werrett Bloodstock) were actually bidding against one another for the filly,” Widdup said.
“When Damion won the bidding to secure Akari, Neil bought into her.”
Akari is a daughter of champion sire Snitzel and the Japanese mare Asterix (by Neo Universe), who raced only once.
However, she is closely related to Japan’s 2016 champion miler/sprinter Mikki Isle (by Deep Impact), who stands at Arrowfield Stud in the Hunter Valley, and his first Australian yearlings will be offered next year.
Widdup’s victory with Akari followed his win with another lightly-raced Snitzel three-year-old Royal Banquet ($2.40) at Bathurst a day earlier.
Reith was also in the saddle when the gelding beat $2.05 favorite Corcra in the Maiden Handicap (1100m), having only his second start and his first since January.
The Bathurst-Randwick double lifted Widdup’s 2019-20 tally to eight winners.
Widdup also was pleased with the first-up performance at Randwick of his smart sprinter Sandbar, who gave him his first black type win when successful in the Listed Lonhro Plate (1100m) at Warwick Farm in February last year and then another at Rosehill Gardens six months later.
The four-year-old was having his first start since March and started at $71 when 11th in the Group 3 Sydney Stakes (1200m).
“I threw him in the deep end, but we had to start him somewhere,” Widdup said.
“I thought he ran a nice race until his condition blew out.
“Our main aim with him this preparation is the Magic Millions meeting at the Gold Coast in January.”
Widdup’s apprentice Qin Yong has had a good week as well.
Qin Yong scored on Canberra-trained Opera Tickets ($2.40) at Bombala yesterday, after having clinched a Forbes double (Enigami and Proudest Moment) last Saturday week and then winning two days later on Apache Lad at Tamworth.
He has now ridden six winners this season since returning from his native China, and 34 overall during his Australian career.
. Fellow Hawkesbury trainers Jacqueline Greentree and Brooke Somers made it a big weekend by winning respective races at Bathurst last Friday and Nowra today.
Hobby trainer Greentree notched the second success of her career, causing an upset with $41 chance Fioravanti (Anthony Cavallo) in the Benchmark 58 Handicap (1100m) at Bathurst.
The rank outsider of the field, the eight-year-old downed Williamson ($11) and $1.45 hotpot Mojito.
Fioravanti had a number of trainers before entering Greentree’s stable, and she had notched six minor placings with the gelding prior to his Bathurst performance.
Greentree’s maiden winner was Cosmic Deluxe at Gundagai in June.
Somers, like Greentree, put her name on the current season winning list by scoring with Tormund ($5.50) at Nowra today.
Perfectly rated in front by Jean Van Overmeire, Tormund kicked strongly on straightening and just held out $3 favorite Noble Belle in the Benchmark 58 Handicap (1400m).
Somers had an interesting story to tell afterwards, revealing she purchased the now four-year-old online through Inglis Digital for $700 as an unbroken yearling.
Tormund has now two twice – his first being in an Orange Maiden Plate (1600m) in March – and his trainer believes he will take improvement from today’s race and step up to longer journeys.
Somers completed her most successful season (2018-19) with six wins, and Tormund was her 12th overall winner in a brief career so far.