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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis

"AUSBRED" CONTINUES ON AUSTRALIAN DERBY PATH


SUNDAY: February 26, 2023: THE sun continues to shine on Brad Widdup’s Australian Derby aspirations with Ausbred Rising Sun.

The lightly-raced three-year-old at only his fourth start yesterday came through his first black type test when an excellent third in the Group 2 Autumn Classic (1800m) at Sandown.

“I was really pleased with his performance; he kept coming to the line,” Widdup said today.

“The first two horses (Pericles and Mr Maestro) are seasoned three-year-olds who contested the Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington last spring.

“Craig Williams rode Ausbred Rising Sun and was very complimentary about him. He feels there is more upside.

“He is a very nice horse and still learning. This is his first racing preparation and it’s now a case of seeing whether he keeps improving, or plateaus out. Hopefully it’s the former.”

Widdup is bringing the Maurice gelding home, and has a couple of options to continue his path to the $2m Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) at Royal Randwick on April 1 on Day 1 of The Championships.

“There is the Group 2 Alister Clark Stakes (2040m) at Moonee Valley on March 18 and the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) the same day,” he said.

“Both are at set weights and, whilst the Melbourne race is worth a little bit more, my thinking at present is to keep Ausbred Rising Sun at home and go to Rosehill.”

Ausbred Rising Sun’s four starts have produced two wins (both at Newcastle) and two placings (in town).

Whilst it’s all go with the three-year-old, stable star Icebath’s autumn campaign remains on hold.

Following a brilliant first-up fourth to Anamoe in the Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on February 11, the Group 1 winner was to have contested yesterday’s Group 2 Guy Walter Proven Thoroughbreds Stakes (1400m) there against her own sex.

However, she developed some sensitivity to her near fore hoof earlier in the week, and was not an acceptor for the race.

“Icebath is improving slowly, but it is probably going to take another week to get her right,” Widdup said.

“Until we can do that, there’s no point trying to plan what we might be able to run her in during the autumn carnival.”

Before the setback, Widdup was looking to have another crack at the $4m Group 1 Doncaster Mile at Randwick on April 1 with Icebath, who has been listed to be offered for sale at the Inglis Chairman’s Sale at their Riverside property on May 4.

. Widdup continued his outstanding season, and made it 42 wins so far when Good Omens was successful at Canterbury last Friday night.

The outsider of the six-horse Benchmark 72 Handicap (1550m) field at $15, the So You Think five-year-old beat $2.60 favorite Awesome John and Charity Spirit ($4.80) to post her fourth win from 16 starts.

“Good Omens had taken improvement from her first-up run at Newcastle, and I was even happier with her when she paraded at Canterbury,” Widdup said.

“I expected her to run well, and was surprised at her odds.”

. Widdup plans to have two representatives in Saturday’s home track Qualifier (1400m) of the Polytrack Provincial-Midway Championship.

They are Phearson (Grant Buckley) and Cross The Rubicon (Alysha Collett) in the $150,000 event which is for eligible provincial-trained horses only.

Phearson was to have resumed in last Thursday’s opening qualifier at Kembla Grange, but Widdup chose not to run him when he drew awkwardly.

Cross The Rubicon is also ready to resume after contesting a 790m barrier trial at Kembla Grange on February 8.

. Hawkesbury trainers Edward Cummings and husband and wife partnership Phil and Tara Vigouroux both clinched their seventh winner of the season at the weekend.

Cummings made it two in three days (debutante Arts scored at Kembla Grange last Thursday) when Paved With Gold (Louise Day) stormed home at Newcastle yesterday.

The Capitalist filly, a $40,000 purchase at the 2021 Inglis Classic yearling sale for Cummings, was a $5.50 chance and overpowered more fancied pair Jo Jo Sun ($2.60) and Lazulite ($2.35 favorite) in the Provincial Maiden Handicap (900m) for three-year-olds and upwards.

Paved With Gold raced in a tongue tie at her fifth start, and finished in a manner which suggested she could win again.

Team Vigouroux broke through at Queanbeyan today with Bandolero (Jess Taylor) at his 16th start.

The Shamus Award four-year-old started at $3.70, and defeated dead-heaters Red Redemption ($6) and Despoina ($2.35 favorite) in the Maiden Plate (1600m).

It has already been a successful season for the couple, with two more winners presently than last season’s number.

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