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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis


TUESDAY: March 15, 2022: BRAD Widdup has been forced to seek a new rider for Icebath in Saturday’s $5m All Star Mile at Flemington.

Ben Melham, originally booked for the mare, broke both a shoulder blade and collarbone when dislodged from his mount after the finish of a race at yesterday’s Adelaide Cup meeting at Morphettville.

As a result, Widdup has turned to former Western Australian jockey Fred Kersley, who has been riding successfully in Victoria for several years.

“It’s bad luck for Ben, but I’m prepared to give the young fellow a chance,” Widdup said this evening.

Icebath today drew barrier nine in the 15-horse line-up, and her trainer was happy to take that given she drew the outside in a field of 14 when beaten a whisker in the Group 1 Cantala Stakes over the All Star Mile course at Flemington last October at the start of the Melbourne Cup carnival.

Widdup reported Icebath has trained on strongly since her last start fourth to Forbidden Love on a very heavy Royal Randwick track in the Group 2 Guy Walter Stakes (1400m) on February 26.

“I’m really happy with her,” he said.

“She worked strongly the Melbourne way this morning, and will be floated south on Thursday night.”

Widdup clinched his 35th winner this season (only one shy of last season’s tally) and his 209th overall when promising filly Short Shorts scored easily on her home track today.

Ridden by Alysha Collett, the Iffraaj three-year-old was a $2.20 favorite in the A&T Trading/Tip Top Class 1 Handicap (1400m), and beat Kouklara ($7.50) and Extreme Gem ($4.20).

This was her second success from only four starts, and she has been placed on the two other occasions.

Widdup is now eyeing a trip to his home town for Short Shorts’ next target.

“Provided she continues to do well, I might run her against her own age in the Albury Guineas (a 1400m Benchmark 72 Handicap) at the Cup meeting on Friday week,” he said.

Widdup’s wife Milissa races Short Shorts in partnership with her New Zealand breeder Mark Fraser-Campin.

“Mark is a seller, and relatives of this filly have won in Hong Kong and Malaysia,” Widdup said.

“But he liked this filly and wanted to keep her, and she is doing a good job so far.

“Short Shorts has plenty of ability, and I’m sure there is further improvement in her.”

. Widdup’s victory with Short Shorts following Edward Cummings’ success with Have Mercy earlier in the day took the number of winners prepared by Hawkesbury trainers so far this season to 98.

Today’s meeting began on a “Soft 7” and was upgraded to a “Soft 6” following the third race, vindicating the club’s decision to undertake vital drainage work during the summer recess.

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