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  • John Curtis


SUNDAY: August 29, 2021: THAT’S amore!

It’s the Italian word for love, and that’s exactly what Amore gave favorite punters at Wyong today – though not before a heart palpitation or three.

The lightly-raced four-year-old Savabeel mare, having only her fifth start, overcame trouble before arriving in the nick of time in the Provincial & Country Maiden Plate (1600m) after Hugh Bowman’s rails-scraping ride.

A $1.55 hotpot, Amore edged out Grecian Lass ($5.50), who surged down the centre of the track.

The RacingNSW stewards’ report underlines Amore’s performance, explaining she was crowded by two other runners shortly after the start.

“Amore was held up when awkwardly placed on the heels of Coogee Bay rounding the home turn, then passing the 250m had to be checked to avoid the heels of that horse before shifting in to obtain a narrow run on the inside,” the report continued.

Considering Amore (57kg) conceded the year younger runner-up 2kg, who had an uninterrupted run once in the clear after straightening, she did an excellent job to break through, giving promise of better things to come.

Leading Hawkesbury trainer Brad Widdup, who continued his outstanding start to the new season with his ninth winner of the month (and Hawkesbury’s 18th overall), is confident she will continue to shine as she gets over a middle distance.

At the same time, he is in no hurry to do so.

“I’ve always thought Amore would stay and I’m sure she will, and so is Hugh,” Widdup said this evening.

“Hugh was happy with the mare, but recommended afterwards not to be in a rush to stretch her out over ground just yet.

“I will look at keeping her around the 1600m or perhaps 1800-1900m at her next run.”

Widdup prepares Amore for Corumbene Stud, whose owner George Altomonte outlaid $270,000 to secure her at the 2019 Magic Millions yearling sale at the Gold Coast.

Her sire Savabeel had an outstanding three-year-old season in 2004, winning both the Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick before beating older horses in the wfa Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley and then finishing second in the Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington.

Amore’s dam, the Encosta De Lago mare Love and Kisses, was a twice Sydney winner before being retired to stud.

Widdup has taken his time with Amore, who did not begin her racing career until January this year midway through her three-year-old season.

“She has been a slow maturer,” he explained.

In fact, Widdup’s foresight with the mare is a perfect example of why he has kicked off the 2021-22 racing year in such brilliant style.

“Being patient with a number of our winners this month by not smashing them as two-year-olds has proved successful,” he said.

“Hopefully, they will keep rewarding us.”

Ever the realist, Widdup also knows his current winning streak won’t continue forever.

Whilst he has talented sprinting mare Adelong ready to resume in the Group 3 Concorde Stakes (1000m) at Randwick on Saturday, the presence of The Everest favorite Nature Strip has him – and no doubt other trainers – guarded about first-up prospects.

“I wasn’t thinking he would be running in Concorde,” Widdup said ruefully.

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