TUESDAY: September 27, 2022: HAWKESBURY’S glamour “girls” Duais and Icebath are heading in different directions this weekend – both chasing Group 1 glory.
And they are strong fancies for their respective races.
Triple Group 1 winner Duais has gone back to Melbourne to continue her spring campaign, and is a $5 second favorite with TAB.com.au for the $1m Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington, to be run at set weights plus penalties.
Icebath, already placed in five Group 1s and seeking to clinch a deserved breakthrough at racing’s elite level, is a firming $3.50 favorite for the $1.5m Epsom Handicap (1600m).
Josh Parr rides Duais in the Turnbull as the five-year-old mare has her third start this preparation and returns to the scene of her brilliant Australian Cup triumph in March over the same distance.
Duais is currently a $7 favorite with TAB.com.au for the $5m Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 15, and also remains in the $5m Group 1 wfa Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley a week later, and $8m Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 1.
Trainer Edward Cummings this afternoon reported his mare travelled back to Melbourne yesterday, and is in great shape for her Turnbull assignment.
Duais was warming up nicely when sixth to Anamoe in the Group 1 wfa George Main Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on September 17, and is sure to relish getting to the 2000m of the Turnbull.
Her performance undoubtedly will give connections a clearer picture for the remainder of the spring.
“Duais could run in one or all three (Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup),” Cummings said.
James McDonald will not have to declare overweight on Icebath (54.5kg) as weights were raised 1kg when Epsom acceptances were taken this morning – and an unusually small field of 12 remained.
Hawkesbury’s leading trainer Brad Widdup says he could not be happier with his six-year-old mare.
“She worked 1000m with a mate on the course proper here this morning, and did all I wanted her to,” Widdup said this evening.
“Icebath has come through the gallop in good order, so I’ll sleep well tonight.
“She is going great, has had a faultless preparation and goes into the Epsom fourth up after having run in all the right lead-ups.”
Widdup has also paid up for Icebath as a second acceptor for the Cox Plate, which is run on the same day as the $2m The Invitation (1400m) at Randwick.
She won the inaugural running of the fillies and mares’ feature last year, and has been invited to start again this year.
“The owners will have to make a decision after the Epsom as to which way we head,” Widddup said.
“Obviously, how she races on Saturday will have a major bearing on that decision.”