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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis


SUNDAY: May 1, 2022: BRAD Widdup wasn’t amongst the winners at his home track’s stand-alone meeting yesterday, although his four representatives all ran well.

But at least he tasted victory at the corresponding Newcastle fixture when Travelling Kate made it two in a row, in the Conditional Benchmark 68 Handicap (1850m).

A $2.40 favorite, Travelling Kate (Jean Van Overmeire) raced outside the leader and comfortably defeated Whodat ($4.20) and This Is So ($8.50).

She had also scored by nearly four lengths at Newcastle in a Benchmark 64 Handicap over the same course on April 21 at her previous start.

Widdup attributes blinkers going on the New Zealand-bred mare to her form turnaround.

“It has to be that because I haven’t done anything different with her,” he said today.

“Her trackwork riders had been telling me how good she was going, but that wasn’t translating to her races.

“It was getting to the stage where I was starting to wonder, but the blinkers have obviously made a huge difference as she has gone bang, bang.”

Whilst Travelling Kate, who gave Hawkesbury’s leading trainer his 43rd win of the season and 217th overall, is now in line for a hat-trick, her trainer isn’t definite about chasing that in the near future.

“I’ll see how she does in the next few days, but she has been up for quite a while now,” Widdup said.

“It is just good to see her now putting it together.”

Widdup was pleased with all four runners at the stand-alone day on the heavy track, with resumers Queen Bellissimo and Authentic Jewel (both $5.50 chances) finishing second and third respectively in the Living Turf Benchmark 78 Handicap (1100m), Surreal Step ($7) finishing third in the Listed XXXX Gold Rush (1100m), and hat-trick seeker Global Ausbred ($5.50) was beaten only two lengths when fifth in the Blakes Marine Benchmark 78 Handicap (1800m).

“It was tough going out there after heavy rain hit the track yesterday morning,” Widdup said.

“Authentic Jewel will go to Scone on Saturday week for the Listed Denise’s Joy Stakes (1100m) against her age, and I’ve got a few options for Queen Bellissimo.

“Both have come back really well.

“Although Global Ausbred handled the heavy track last time in his easy Canterbury win, he wasn’t as comfortable on yesterday’s ground.

“He has pulled up well and at this stage will continue on to Brisbane and go back against his own age in the Rough Habit Plate (2000m) at Doomben on Saturday week and Queensland Derby (2400m) at Eagle Farm a fortnight later.

“I was concerned beforehand the 1100m might be a bit short for Surreal Step, but he finished off well and would have been right in it with an inside draw.

“He was having his first run since joining our stable, and it might be best keeping him on the fresh side.

“I may not run him again until the At Sea Handicap (1100m) at Randwick at the end of the month (May 28).”

Widdup withdrew Short Shorts from the Midway Handicap (1500m) – won by another Hawkesbury runner Knight – because of her wide draw, and has a number of options this week, including a Benchmark 72 Handicap (1600m) for three and four-year-olds at Gosford’s The Coast meeting on Saturday, to take her back to the races.

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