THURSDAY: April 21, 2022: BRAD Widdup now knows what his trackwork riders have been telling him!
The “real” Travelling Kate stood up at Newcastle today, giving her rivals a belting in the Benchmark 64 Handicap (1850m) – and posting her first Australian victory in the process.
Given a perfect ride by Alysha Collett from the inside barrier, the former New Zealand mare took over on straightening and quickly put the issue beyond doubt, romping home by nearly four lengths.
“It was great to finally see her do it,” Widdup said this evening.
“My work riders have kept saying she is a really good mare, but I haven’t been seeing it in her races.
“To be fair though, things haven’t really gone her way.
“Travelling Kate has been a work in progress. She came to me with barrier issues, but has been really well behaved this preparation.
“She hasn’t had much luck in most of her races either.
“Max Whitby bred Travelling Kate (by Cox Plate winner Savabeel) from the NZ Group 1 Thorndon Mile winner A Touch Of Ruby, and it was nice to repay him for giving the mare to me to train.”
The four-year-old mare had been placed in five of her first nine starts since joining Widdup’s Hawkesbury team.
She was certainly due for a change of fortune, having notched placings at her last four starts at Wyong, Newcastle (twice) and Goulburn.
Widdup opted to put blinkers on Travelling Kate for today’s assignment, having worked her in the shades leading up to the Newcastle race.
“I’m sure both the addition of blinkers and the drier surface (a Good 4) after racing on soft and heavy tracks at her last four runs contributed to her performance,” he said.
“She should take confidence from that and, now that she has broken through for us, can go on with the job.
“I’ll find another suitable race for her in the coming weeks.”
Travelling Kate, whose sole win in New Zealand was in a 1200m Maiden Plate against her own sex at Avondale 12 months ago (April 26) before being brought across the Tasman, was a $10 chance today.
This was the first time Widdup had tried her beyond 1600m – and it paid off handsomely.
“Travelling Kate relaxed well and is such a well-bred mare that there is every reason to believe she will handle middle distances,” he said.
Travelling Kate was the leading Hawkesbury trainer’s 41st winner this season, following on from stablemate Global Ausbred’s hollow Canterbury victory yesterday, and the 116th prepared by Hawkesbury trainers since August 1.