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  • John Curtis


SUNDAY: October 17, 2021: THE outlook couldn’t be brighter for stable star Icebath to clinch a deserved feature race breakthrough at Royal Randwick on Saturday.

Hawkesbury’s leading trainer Brad Widdup won his 12th race for the season when Outlook scored at Newcastle yesterday in the same colours as Icebath, who will line up in Sydney’s glamor spring event for fillies and mares, the $2m The Invitation (1400m).

Whilst Outlook made it two wins and three seconds from her nine starts by taking the Class 1/Maiden Plate (2300m) as a $1.55 favorite to lift her earnings to just over $60,000, her higher profile stablemate (already the earner of nearly $2.4m) has the opportunity to put her name into the record books as the inaugural winner of a new addition to the expanded The Everest carnival.

Icebath, agonisingly beaten in close finishes in both last spring’s Golden Eagle (1500m) for four-year-olds and this autumn’s $3m Doncaster Mile, has raced well without luck - and without winning - at all four starts this preparation.

Understandably, her trainer is looking forward to starting her in The Invitation as one of the 12 “girls” invited to run, and says she will saddle up in great order on Saturday.

“I couldn’t be happier with her,” Widdup said today.

“She has been terrific all through this preparation; it’s just frustrating that things haven’t gone right for her.

“Icebath will have a nice gallop at Hawkesbury on Tuesday morning to have a bit of a blowout, and she will go to the races on Saturday a very fit mare.”

Kerrin McEvoy reunites with Icebath, who this afternoon was an $8 co-second favorite with behind New Zealand mare Entriviere ($3 favorite).

Widdup has options with Icebath further into spring provided she races as well as he expects on Saturday.

“She can either go to Melbourne or we’ll look at the $1m The Gong (1600m) at the Kembla Grange Saturday stand-alone meeting on November 20,” he said.

Widdup has kept his five-year-old mare ticking over since she finished ninth (beaten only three lengths) to Private Eye in the $1.5m Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Randwick on October 2, when she figured prominently in the RacingNSW stewards’ report afterwards.

Whilst Outlook is yet to reach anywhere near Icebath’s heights, she is heading the right way as she gets over more suitable middle distances.

A beautifully-bred four-year-old by Fastnet Rock from an Irish mare Amazing Beauty (a daughter of the great staying influence Galileo), she fetched $340,000 as a weanling at the Gold Coast in 2018.

“I’m sure Outlook is still 12 months away from reaching her peak,” Widdup said.

“She has been all over the shop, but become a lot smarter in her trackwork.

“I’ve got no doubt she will continue to improve and staying is certainly her forte.”

Ridden by Koby Jennings (who ironically rode Colette when she pipped Icebath in last year’s Golden Eagle), Outlook beat Rockamo ($12) and Wild ($31) yesterday in very windy conditions.

She trailed the leader, $41 outsider Empire Royal, before taking over on straightening and then comfortably holding her chasers at bay.

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