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  • John Curtis


SUNDAY: September 26, 2021: IT’S showtime!

Hawkesbury’s leading trainer Brad Widdup clinched his 10th winner of the season at Goulburn yesterday, with Showtime Lady, and is looking forward to Royal Randwick on Saturday, hoping to clinch a Group 1 breakthrough with Golden Eagle and Doncaster Mile runner-up Icebath.

The classy mare rounded off her preparation for the $1.5m Epsom Handicap (1600m) with a strong-finishing close fourth (beaten only a length) in yesterday’s Group 2 Golden Pendant (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens, and has pulled up well.

“As a five-year-old she is now a lot stronger mare, and was really good this morning coming off a Good 3 track,” Widdup said.

“All her three runs this preparation have been excellent without much luck.

“It’s frustrating, but she gets her chance to win a Group 1 with 51.5kg in the Epsom, and Robbie Dolan will ride her comfortably at that weight.

“There is some rain forecast later this week, and anything will be better than nothing.”

Backing up accomplished wet tracker Icebath a week later presents no problem for Widdup, who did it twice last season with his mare in feature races – and went within a whisker of pulling off huge results.

Icebath was pipped by Colette in the $7.5m Golden Eagle (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens last October a week after bolting away with a Benchmark 78 Handicap (1600m) at Randwick, then again was photo-finished out of the $3m Doncaster Mile in April by Colette’s stablemate Cascadian, after having finished fourth a week earlier in the Group 2 Emancipation Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill.

“We won’t have to do much with Icebath this week; just keep her ticking over,” Widdup said.

Lightly-raced mare Showtime Lady made it three wins from nine starts when successful at Goulburn yesterday.

Ridden by Ashley Morgan, Showtime Lady ($7) was given a perfect run trailing the two leaders in a Benchmark 64 Handicap (1300m) against her own sex before being eased around their heels approaching the home turn.

She was strong through the line to defeat Pretty Elsa ($4.20) and Sky Diamonds ($6.50), posting her second victory at Goulburn and making amends for a first-up luckless defeat when unplaced there in similar grade over 1200m a fortnight ago.

“Ashley rode her when resuming, and it was an advantage to have him back on yesterday,” Widdup said.

“She is a big-striding mare, and he rode her positively to give her the run of the race.”

New Zealand-bred four-year-old Showtime Lady is a daughter of Showcasing, and was purchased by James Harron Bloodstock for $50,000 at the 2019 Magic Millions yearling sale at the Gold Coast.

She is one of six horses (the others are Calgary Queen, Louder, Stellar Performer, The Poacher and Tycoon Hallie) Widdup has entered for the inaugural $700,000 The Four Pillars (a 1500m Benchmark 68 Handicap) at Rosehill on October 30, and he is keen to give her every opportunity to gain inclusion in the field.

Widdup has been patient with Showtime Lady, whose previous preparation he had to abort when he found her injured in her stall one morning earlier this year.

“She had obviously hurt herself during the night, and I thought she had broken her neck when I first saw her,” he said.

“Thankfully that wasn’t the case and we gave her a good spell.

“She has come back stronger, and I’ll be doing my best to give her every chance to secure a berth in The Four Pillars field, as with all my nominations.”

. Queensland Oaks winner Duais has been named as one of the finalists for the Champion 3YO Filly of 2020-21 category in the Australian Racehorse Of The Year awards.

Prepared by Edward Cummings, the now four-year-old ran second to Hungry Heart in the Group 1 ATC Oaks (2400m) at Randwick in April before clinching a maiden Group 1 victory in the Queensland Oaks (2400m) at Eagle Farm in June.

Because of COVID restrictions, this year’s ceremony announcing the winners of the various categories will be broadcast live on Sky Channel’s Thoroughbred Central (Ch 528) on Monday, October 11.

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