MONDAY: June 28, 2021: BRAD Widdup has Irish apprentice Ellen Hennessy on standby if he decides to chase Saturday’s inaugural Midway Handicap (1100m) at Rosehill Gardens.
Hawkesbury’s leading trainer will monitor the progress of Switched – one of his two entries – over the next few days and also wait until Wednesday’s barrier draw before confirming a start for his mare in the newest addition to Sydney’s Saturday programs.
But he was quick off the mark to book 23-year-old Hennessy in case he gives the “green light” to try to become the first Midway winning trainer.
Switched made the running from an outside barrier before finishing fifth to Madam Legend in a Benchmark 78 Handicap over the Midway course at Rosehill last Saturday.
Hennessy, who has tallied 77 winners in the last two seasons, is now apprenticed to Kembla Grange trainer Theresa Bateup, and broke through for her first Sydney Saturday success on Meg at that Rosehill meeting.
“I’ll accept with both Switched and Bigger Than Thorn (55kg),” Widdup said this evening.
“At this stage, Bigger Than Thorn is equal 21st (16 can run) in ballot order and not guaranteed making the field.
“I won’t commit Switched to a start until I see how she does in the next couple of days and where she draws.
“There’s another race (1100m Benchmark 78 Handicap for fillies and mares) at Randwick on Saturday week if she doesn’t run this weekend.”
Widdup welcomed RacingNSW’s initiative to add the $100,000 Midway to the metropolitan Saturday meetings, along with fellow Hawkesbury trainers Claire Lever (Piping Roller) and Peter Green (My Little Racer), who also have entries for the inaugural running.
Twenty-eight horses have been nominated, with Switched having the highest Benchmark rating of 77.
Piping Roller trialled over 845m at Wyong last Friday following her first-up fifth to Midway rival Nikohli Beagle in a Benchmark 72 Handicap (1000m) at Warwick Farm on June 2.
Whereas Piping Roller (56kg) will make the field, Peter Green isn’t expecting to get his chance with recent Bathurst winner My Little Racer.
With only 54kg and a Benchmark rating of 52, My Little Racer is at the bottom of the ballot order.
. Hawkesbury has received 129 nominations for Thursday’s meeting; the second last of the 2020-21 season.