MONDAY: November 28, 2022: HAWKESBURY trainers are on a roll.
Leading trainer Brad Widdup’s continuing form and the emergence of Randwick trainer Michael Freedman’s second stable at Hawkesbury contributed to 20 winners being prepared out of the track this month.
It is clearly the biggest number in the first four months of the new season, and equals the largest number prepared in any month last season (April).
Additionally, Hawkesbury trainers have so far qualified four horses for the $150,000 Sky Racing Summer Provincial Series Final (1600m) to be held there at the final meeting of the calendar year on December 15.
Widdup’s six winners and Freedman’s five made up just over 50 per cent of the Hawkesbury winners this month, and Team Attard (2) along with fellow Randwick trainer John O’Shea’s second base at Hawkesbury, Team Kearney, Marc Chevalier, Claire Lever, Peter Green, Fabio Martino and Terry Croft all chipped in with one each.
Michael Freedman’s seven winners for the season has understandably pleased the Randwick mentor, who says the move to the provincial track has taken time to “get bedded down” and is now working well.
“I divide my time between the two tracks, and securing good staff at Hawkesbury has now enabled us to get into a good routine,” Freedman said today.
“Being able to work our horses on the Polytrack is certainly an advantage, and Rick Johnston (course manager) is doing a terrific job in making grass tracks available whenever possible.”
Freedman says that as he has plenty of two-year-olds at his main base at Randwick, Hawkesbury presents him with an opportunity to have older horses who like the quieter environment prepared there.
“But there is also the odd young horse or two who do well at Hawkesbury, such as the lightly-raced three-year-old filly Tragara, who broke through at Newcastle yesterday,” he added.
As well as Tragara, Freedman also scored with Tee Cee Tiger and Pagato at Bathurst on November 12, Titled Tycoon at Hawkesbury (17th) and Ponca at Gosford (19th).
Widdup scored with The Impact at home on November 3, Short Shorts at Rosehill Gardens and Showtime Lady at Wyong on November 5, Fire Lane at Newcastle (12th) and both Fun Sunday and Ausbred Flirt at Kembla Grange last Saturday.
Fire Lane will trial over 800m at Canterbury on Wednesday in preparation for the $200,000 Wyong Magic Millions 2YO Classic (1100m) on December 14.
Long-standing Hawkesbury trainer Terry Croft, who trained 10 winners last season, broke the ice this season when Kandos Cosmos scored at Newcastle yesterday, and confirmed plans for an interstate trip in the process.
Having only his sixth start, the Stratum Star three-year-old skipped maiden company to land the Class 1 Handicap (1880m).
“Owner Mal Russell bought Kandos Cosmos’ dam Cubic Cat in foal carrying him, and we took him to Newcastle to see if he could manage a distance and be worth taking to Brisbane next month for the Grand Prix Stakes,” Croft said today.
“Now that he has won, we will be heading north to have a crack at that race.”
The $250,000 Grand Prix (2100m) at set weights for three-year-olds will be run at Eagle Farm on December 17.
“It’s been a slow start to the season, but we haven’t had a stack of runners and now that we’re on the board, hopefully there will be more winners to come in the months ahead,” Croft, who became the 19th Hawkesbury trainer to win at least one race this season, added.
. The four Hawkesbury horses already qualified for the Summer Provincial Final are Showtime Lady and Sonic Tycoon (Widdup), Dream Eclipse (Brooke Somers) and Momack (Blake Ryan).
The fifth and final heat, with the three placegetters automatically qualifying, will be run at Newcastle on Saturday over 1600m.