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  • John Curtis


SUNDAY: April 11, 2021: BRAD Widdup has ruled out any chance of attempting a Group 1 “consolation” at Royal Randwick on Saturday with $3m Doncaster Mile runner-up Icebath.

The $1m Coolmore Legacy (1600m) for fillies and mares awaits on Day 2 of The Championships and, whilst the leading Hawkesbury trainer narrowly missed a Group 1 breakthrough with his classy mare yesterday, he isn’t tempted to back her up in search of a victory at racing’s elite level.

“I’m not going to smash her by running three weekends in a row,” Widdup said today.

“Icebath wasn’t suited by the pattern of racing at Rosehill last week at Rosehill Gardens and still ran home well from last to finish fourth in the Group 2 Emancipation Stakes (1500m), then gave her all yesterday in the Doncaster.

“She was tired after the race.

“Her owners were thrilled with her performance, and happy that she has done enough this preparation.

“Icebath definitely won’t back up in the Coolmore Legacy, and I’ll see how she bounces out of the Doncaster this week before determining any immediate plans.

“We were considering going to Brisbane for the Doomben Cup, but it’s likely we will spell her and look ahead to the spring.”

Having trained for only four years after serving a lengthy apprenticeship, Widdup has twice gone so close to landing feature victories this season with Icebath – and on both occasions to the massive Godolphin operation.

Icebath was pipped by Godolphin’s Colette in the $7.5m Golden Eagle (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens last October, and again edged out by her stablemate Cascadian in yesterday’s Group 1 Doncaster.

For all that, she has still earned her owners just over $2m from those two seconds and proved an outstanding purchase for them.

In the aftermath of another close defeat, Widdup took it in his stride and publicly thanked his Hawkesbury staff for all the work they have done with Icebath.

“I would probably have been more emotional if she had won,” he said.

“You had to be proud of how she ran.

“It would have been nice to have been the swooper rather than be swept upon (referring to both Colette and Cascadian nabbing Icebath on the outside), but that’s racing.”

. Stablemate Switched, whom the trainer’s wife Milissa races in partnership with a ladies’ syndicate, finished fifth at Caulfield yesterday at her Melbourne debut, and will return to her Hawkesbury stable.

“I think you can forget about that defeat,” Widdup said. “That was only her second run this preparation after finishing third first-up on the Kensington track, and we’ll look for another race for her once she settles in back at home.”

. Fellow Hawkesbury trainer Garry Frazer was understandably rapt with the performance of his youngster Anagain, who finished second at $41 in the Group 3 Kindergarten Stakes (1100m) at Randwick yesterday.

Anagain had turned in an excellent performance to score on debut at Gosford on March 13, and went to another level on the opening day of The Championships.

The filly has pulled up well, but Frazer is likely to spell her rather than head to Brisbane – where he clinched the first of his four Group 1 victories (Turridu in the 1995 Queensland Derby at Eagle Farm) – for the winter carnival.

“My wife Julie and myself own Anagain,” Frazer said today. “I think she would be competitive in a couple of races in Brisbane, but am confident she will be even better as a three-year-old, especially when she gets to 1400m.”

Anagain and Frazer’s latest Group 1 winner, the now retired Spright, are both by Hinchinbrook, and though the experienced trainer is not comparing them, he is nonetheless excited about the former’s future.

“They’re not related on the dam’s side, but Anagain has an uncanny resemblance to Spright in both her manner around the stable and at trackwork,” he said.

“When you don’t have a big stable, you don’t think you will get another good horse like Spright, but you never know.”

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