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  • John Curtis


SUNDAY: May 23, 2021: YOU could hear the cheering from New Zealand!

Hawkesbury’s leading trainer Brad Widdup claimed his 27th winner of the season at Nowra today with a Kiwi horse raced by his wife Milissa in partnership with Cambridge Jockey Club chief executive Mark Fraser-Campin.

Having only his fourth start, Mr Bond ($3.30) gave notice of better things to come over a middle-distance by thrashing his rivals in the Maiden Plate (1600m).

A lengthy friendship with Fraser-Campin led to Widdup getting the lightly-raced Darci Brahma four-year-old to train along with his wife buying into him.

“Mark and I got to know each other when we were both based at Warwick Farm 25 years or so back,” Widdup said this evening.

“He had Mr Bond in New Zealand and was keen to race him in Australia, and always being on the lookout for a tried horse with upside, I was happy to become involved.”

It was Fraser-Campin who earlier this century influenced Widdup to return to Sydney from Brisbane when former Sydney trainer Bill Mitchell decided to close his Queensland satellite stable.

Widdup joined legendary Kiwi trainer Graeme Rogerson at Randwick, and was with him when Polar Success won the 2003 Golden Slipper Stakes at Rosehill Gardens.

Mr Bond had raced twice at home late last year, finishing third at Rotorua (1400m) in November and again at Hastings (1400m) in early December.

Widdup trialled the gelding twice before resuming him at Newcastle on May 1, finishing fourth to Too Much Caviar (subsequently second on the Kensington track last Wednesday) in a 1400m Maiden Handicap.

He accepted with him at both the Newcastle and Hawkesbury meetings last Tuesday and Thursday respectively, but pulled the pin when barrier draws went against him.

Widdup put blinkers on Mr Bond for his Nowra assignment, and his experienced rider Jay Ford knew to plot a wider course in the straight on a wet track as the gelding surged clear in the last 200m.

He had a margin of more than five lengths at the end over runner-up Elegant Carriage ($21), with Duke Of Buckingham ($4.80) third.

“I didn’t want to put blinkers back on him at his first run in Australia until I had a look at him,” Widdup explained.

“There’s every reason to expect Mr Bond will continue to improve.

“He is a very relaxed horse, and has the right temperament and a good action.”

Mr Bond’s sire Darci Brahma was a five-times Group 1 winner (including the 2005 JJ Atkins Stakes, 1600m at Eagle Farm), and his dam Bond Street is a daughter of the noted staying influence Pentire and Irish-bred Sadler’s Wells mare Shopping Spree.

. Whilst it was all good news with Mr Bond, Widdup’s three-year-old filly Outlook was out of luck when unplaced at Rosehill Gardens yesterday.

Outlook was on trial for a Queensland Oaks berth, but drew awkwardly in the Benchmark 72 Handicap (2000m) and was hampered on the home turn when attempting to get into the race.

“She has done a good job this preparation, and I’ll probably give her a break now,” Widdup said.

. Fellow Hawkesbury trainer Garry Frazer was also a winner today – at the greyhounds.

The multiple Group 1 winning Frazer, who also turns his hand into preparing a greyhound or two, scored at Richmond this evening with Ice King, who led throughout over 330m.

It was the dog’s third win from his last four starts.

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