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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis


MONDAY: October 31, 2022: HAWKESBURY’S newest Group 1 winning trainer Brad Widdup has earned plaudits for another weekend “performance” – and it had nothing to do with Icebath.

Whilst Widdup clinched an overdue breakthrough with his star mare at her 10th attempt at racing’s elite level, in the $1m Empire Rose Stakes (1600m) at Flemington last Saturday, something he did yesterday to come to the aid of another Hawkesbury trainer in his hour of need prompted fellow trainer Henry Reeves to ring and tell the story.

“I was going to Goulburn with Joe Khalifeh to assist him with his gelding Camp David,” Reeves said.

“We were at the lights on Richmond Road near the Riverstone turn-off when smoke starting coming out of Joe’s car.

“We pulled over at a nearby garage which was closed, and once we opened the bonnet we knew the radiator had blown.”

A quick phone call to another Hawkesbury trainer Phil Vigouroux was unsuccessful as he was already well en route to Goulburn with his and wife Tara’s runner Tillman, so another call was made, this time to Widdup.

“Phil and Tara’s horse was in the same race as Joe’s Camp David, and we knew Brad also had two runners in the same race,” Reeves said.

“We rang hoping he would be able to help out, and he did.

“Brad was just leaving his stables with his father-in-law (former Brisbane trainer Fred Thomas) and he was only too happy to help out.

“Fortunately, he had a three-horse trailer and picked up Joe and his horse and took them to Goulburn.

“Joe has some mobility issues, and Brad even stabled Camp David beside his two runners and saddled the horse for him.

“What he did was fantastic. He went out of his way to help out and I know Joe is very appreciative indeed.”

The Class 2 Handicap (1600m) at the Goulburn Cup Showcase meeting proved an all-Hawkesbury affair – but neither Widdup or Khalifeh were winners on the track.

Randwick trainer John O’Shea’s second stable at Hawkesbury provided the winner in the promising three-year-old Saveadateforme ($1.85 favorite), who defeated the Widdup pair Devil Racer ($19) and Mum’s The Boss ($3.90).

Tillman ($6) finished fifth, and Camp David ($101) ninth.

Though modestly playing down his “helping hand” role, Widdup said he was pleased to lend assistance when needed.

“I’ve been down that road before myself, and Joe and Henry are good blokes,” he added.

. Icebath has arrived home safely from Melbourne, surprising even her trainer with her appearance.

“She has come through the Empire Rose and the trip home unbelievably well,” Widdup said.

“She is as tough as they come, and will have a few days at home before going out for a well-deserved spell on Wednesday.”

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