TUESDAY: July 20, 2021: THERE’S an extra spring in Brad Widdup’s step!
Not only did he clinch his 35th win of the season when promising stayer Mr Bond steamrolled his Wyong rivals today, but three of the leading Hawkesbury trainer’s “favorite girls” are ready to trial at Royal Randwick next Tuesday en route to spring campaigns.
This season’s Golden Eagle and Doncaster Mile runner-up Icebath, Adelong and Vulpine – all city winners – are scheduled to trial, with the former expected to contest a special 900m heat for Group horses on the course proper.
Widdup’s victory with New Zealand four-year-old Mr Bond was particularly special as his wife Milissa races the gelding in partnership with family friend Mark Fraser-Campin, chief executive of Cambridge Jockey Club.
With Jay Ford up, Mr Bond ($2.40 favorite) burst clear in the straight to take the Class 1/Maiden Plate (2100m) by a widening five and a half lengths from Kermajack ($4.40) and Martinello ($2.45).
It was the son of Darci Brahma’s fourth Australian start – he has raced only six times – for his second victory, following two debut placings at home before crossing the Tasman.
But his trainer isn’t in any rush to get him out further in distance just yet.
“I’m sure he will get over more ground, but I want to look after him,” Widdup said this evening.
“I feel he will be even better next time in work as this is his first campaign here.
“He might have only one or two more runs and then go for a break.
“There’s an 1800m Midway Benchmark Handicap at Rosehill Gardens on August 7, but going back in distance isn’t really suitable.
“Perhaps a Benchmark 64 Handicap over 2100m at home (Hawkesbury) three days later might be the better option.”
Ford also rode Mr Bond when he broke through – by a similar margin as today – in a Maiden Plate (1600m) at Nowra on May 23.
He allowed the gelding to plenty of time to settle in last place in the small field of six today, then began to get on the move from the 1000m.
Mr Bond loomed up strongly on the home turn, and quickly put the issue beyond doubt on straightening.
“He got cast in his box after that Nowra win and, not being able to trial him, I knew he would be fitter following his fifth over 1600m at Kembla Grange 12 days ago,” Widdup said.
. Widdup had initially planned to trial stable flag-bearer Icebath at Warwick Farm on Friday, but COVID restrictions meant he has to wait a few days for the Randwick session on Tuesday.
“I’m very happy with Icebath,” Widdup said. “She will trial again on August 9 at Randwick, and then we’ll work out when to kick off her campaign.
“Her immediate mission is the $400,000 Group 2 Golden Pendant (1400m) at set weights and penalties against her own sex at Rosehill Gardens on September 25.
“I’d like to give her two runs leading into that race.
“She could resume in the Group 3 Show County Quality (1200m) at Randwick on August 21, and then perhaps the Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes (1300m) at Rosehill on September 11.”