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  • John Curtis


WEDNESDAY: September 22, 2021: ROBBIE Dolan will ride Golden Eagle and Doncaster Mile runner-up Icebath in Saturday week’s Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Royal Randwick.

Leading Hawkesbury trainer Brad Widdup this morning announced Dolan’s booking for the $1.5m Epsom, but the talented lightweight jockey won’t be aboard when she has her final lead-up in Saturday’s Group 2 Golden Pendant (1400m) against her own sex at Rosehill Gardens.

Kerrin McEvoy has partnered Icebath in both runs this campaign and stays with her, where she gets some important weight relief under the set weights and penalties conditions, dropping to 54kg after carrying 57.5kg (Group 3 Show County, 1200m at Royal Randwick on August 21) and 56.5kg (Group 2 Theo Marks, 1300m at the Rosehill meeting at Kembla Grange on September 11).

He is committed to $8 Epsom third favorite Hungry Heart, on whom he clinched a Group 1 double last autumn (Vinery Stud Stakes, 2000m at Rosehill and ATC Oaks, 2400m at Randwick).

Widdup is pleased with his now five-year-old mare’s 51.5kg in the Epsom – only 1kg more than when she was just edged out by Cascadian in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile at Randwick in April – and delighted to be able to secure Dolan.

“Robbie can comfortably ride Icebath (currently $15) at her 51.5kg, and that’s obviously important,” he said this morning.

“Her two runs this time in have been terrific, and she is in great order for Saturday’s race en route to the Epsom.”

Widdup is following a similar path with Icebath to what he has taken at her last two campaigns – and hopefully a deserved Group 1 breakthrough will be the outcome on this occasion.

Icebath won a Benchmark 78 Handicap (1600m) at Randwick on October 24 last year before being pipped by Cascadian’s stablemate Colette in the $7.5m Golden Eagle (1500m) at Rosehill a week later.

She then ran a close fourth in the Group 2 Emancipation Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on April 3 before again backing up a week later for another photo-finish second (to Cascadian in the Doncaster).

Widdup has a pair of three-year-olds representing him at his home track meeting at Hawkesbury tomorrow; Devil Racer in the Independent Liquor Group Maiden Plate (1500m) and Sneaky Island in the XXXX Gold Provincial & Country Maiden Handicap (1300m).

Regan Bayliss rides Devil Racer, and Andrew Adkins has the Sneaky Island mount.

Devil Racer, having his fifth start, is an Artie Schiller colt who races in the same colours as John Cordina’s Summertime Thoroughbreds 2017 Victoria Derby winner Ace High, whilst Pierro filly Sneaky Island, raced by Greenhaven Park Stud, is making her debut.

Devil Racer resumed with an excellent third to fellow Hawkesbury pair Three Wise Men (Edward Cummings) and What A Prince (Garry White) in a 1300m Maiden Handicap on his home track on September 9.

“It was a good run, and the extra 200m tomorrow should suit him,” Widdup said.

“He has drawn a bit awkwardly (10 in a field of 10), but at this stage he will start and I expect him to run well.”

Widdup has put blinkers on Sneaky Island, who trialled in them when third in a 1000m heat at Wyong on September 7.

“She will have this race, and then go to the paddock,” Widdup said.

“A Provincial and Country Maiden is a good opportunity to give her some race experience.

“I’m sure she will be a better filly at her next preparation.”

Fellow Hawkesbury trainer Garry White bats on home turf with three good prospects; Alvin The Bold (HRC Motel Class 1 Handicap, 1500m), Timely Shadow (Sky Racing Benchmark 64 Handicap, 1800m), and What A Prince (in Sneaky Island’s race).

Josh Parr rides Alvin The Bold and What A Prince – he finished second on both at the last Hawkesbury meeting on September 9 – and Rachel King partners Timely Shadow, who will race in blinkers for the first time.

Timely Shadow finished fourth to stablemate Shadow Girl in a similar race over the same distance at that Hawkesbury fixture a fortnight ago.

Socrates and The Guru have been withdrawn from Gosford engagements today to line up in Timely Shadow’s race, whilst other Gosford absentees High Court and Anotherthinkcomin’ (TAB Conditional Open Handicap, 1300m) and Either Oar and Ruby Kisses (St Johns Park Bowling Club F&M Benchmark 64 Handicap, 1100m) also are Hawkesbury-bound.

As co-trainers Rob and Luke Price ready underrated filly Jamaea for a crack at Saturday’s $1m Golden Rose (1400m) at Rosehill, the appearance of their four-year-old Pirate Bird in tomorrow’s 1300m Provincial & Country Maiden at Hawkesbury will evoke memories of a horse by the same name who raced in Sydney in the 1960s.

That Pirate Bird thrilled racegoers by tearing out with huge leads, and his wins included the 1968 Kingston Town Stakes; the 2021 renewal having been run only last Saturday at Randwick.

. The rail is in the TRUE position for tomorrow’s meeting, and a “Good 4” rating was posted this morning. No rainfall has been recorded, but 3mm of irrigation has been put on the track in the last 24 hours and 11mm in the past seven days.

. Paul Joice’s selections are:

RACE 1: ELUSIVE JEWEL, Vittoriosa, Alvin The Bold.

RACE 2: NO IMPEDIMENT, Anotherthinkcomin’, A Magic Zariz.

RACE 3: IOLANTHE, Socrates, Freckle Rock.

RACE 4: DEVIL RACER, Dalchini, No Question.

RACE 5: WHAT A PRINCE, Olympic Time, Summer Promise.

RACE 6: TILLOTSON, Californiasilencer, Anchorage.

RACE 7: PERLANT, Shotgun Alli, Pandora Blue.

RACE 8: BULLET RIDER, Diamond Hands, Celer.


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