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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis

DAWLA ON A POSSIBLE CHAMPIONSHIPS PATH


SUNDAY: February 11, 2024: THE Polytrack Provincial-Midway Championships are now on the radar for yesterday’s Newcastle winner Dawla.

Leading Hawkesbury trainer Brad Widdup flagged a possible tilt at the series following Dawla’s second victory from as many starts this preparation.

Ridden by stable apprentice Zac Wadick, Dawla ($5) finished strongly once she got out into the clear in the straight, and defeated $2.60 favorite Invasive Dreams and Lounerse ($4.20) in the Benchmark 64 Handicap (1200m) against her own sex.

Newcastle filly Lounerse was resuming and suffered her first defeat after wins at Tuncurry and Newcastle at the start of the season.

Dawla, a $70,000 New Zealand yearling buy in 2021, scored first-up in a Class 1 Handicap (1200m) at Wyong on January 18.

“She is going terrific,” Widdup said of his 27th winner of the season.

“I spoke with Dawla’s owner after she won yesterday about the Provincial-Midway Championships, and there’s a possibility we might have a crack at it.

“Probably we will try to find another suitable race for her in the coming weeks, and then see how she is shaping up.

“There are plenty of qualifying races coming up in March.”

Widdup originally had hoped the now four-year-old mare might develop into a handy middle-distance performer, but has kept her to sprinting this campaign – with excellent results.

After Dawla won, Widdup had hoped to clinch a two-track double – and went within a whisker of achieving it in the Benchmark 78 Handicap (1200m) at Royal Randwick.

His consistent mare Tintookie ($3.70 favorite) was very brave under 59.5kg in going under narrowly to Shezanalister ($4.80), who made it three wins from as many starts this campaign and was in receipt of 3.5kg from Widdup’s gutsy mare.

“I’m used to getting beat in photo-finishes,” Widdup said. “But Tintookie was great and toughed it out right to the line.

“She is in the best form of her career.”

Whilst Tintookie is not on a Provincial-Midway Championships path, her trainer is eyeing another race in three weeks – either in Sydney or Melbourne.

“There is a Benchmark 88 Handicap (1200m) at Randwick on March 2, and a Mares Handicap (1100m) for four-year-olds and upwards at Flemington the same day,” Widdup said.

“We might nominate for both, and make a decision which way to go.”

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