WEDNESDAY: June 29, 2022: BRIMSTONE is a ground or air-launched ground attack missile developed for Britain’s Royal Air Force.
A well-named horse (by Smart Missile) carrying the same name certainly hit the target for punters on the Kensington track today.
In doing so, the equine Brimstone continued leading Hawkesbury trainer Brad Widdup’s outstanding season.
Starting a $3.20 favorite, Brimstone landed the Benchmark 72 Handicap (1400m), giving Widdup his seventh winner – including doubles at Goulburn and Kembla Grange - in the last two and a half weeks.
He has now trained a personal best 56 winners in 2021-22 – and there’s still a month remaining.
“It’s been a fantastic season, and we’ll be doing our best to add more to the tally before it ends,” Widdup said this evening.
“There is a heap of horses in racing trim at present, and I expect to have at least four runners at Newcastle on Saturday, along with recent Hawkesbury winner The Himalayas on his home track tomorrow.
“Another six horses have just come back to the stable, and all have been pre-trained, which is a big advantage.”
Widdup’s decision to book talented apprentice Reece Jones for the Gerry Harvey-owned four-year-old today proved a master stroke.
In an all-Hawkesbury finish, Jones’ 2kg claim was decisive as Brimstone carried 58kg instead of his allotted 60kg, and ran down Claire Lever’s Highly Desired ($13), who had 1.5kg more.
Brimstone began well and led early until Highly Desired took over and made the running.
Jones took full advantage of a rails run on straightening, and Brimstone wore down his Hawkesbury rival to post his first Australian victory at only his third start since joining his new trainer.
Brimstone had been runner-up in both earlier Benchmark 72 assignments over 1250m at Canterbury on May 25 and at Warwick Farm over 1400m on June 13.
“The horse is going well, and I’ll look for a Saturday Benchmark race for him now,” Widdup added.
Brimstone’s dam, the Encosta De Lago mare Lakeside, was a Victorian 1600m winner in eight starts before being retired from the track.
Brimstone failed to reach his $75,000 reserve when offered at the 2019 NZ Bloodstock yearling sale at Karaka, and later that year was withdrawn from the company’s Ready To Run sale.
He won three (and was also placed five times) from 12 starts in New Zealand; scoring over 1400m at Tauranga in January before being brought to Australia.