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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis


TUESDAY: April 2, 2024: LEADNG Hawkesbury trainer Brad Widdup is hoping “lightning strikes twice” at Royal Randwick on Saturday.

Widdup has booked the widely-travelled Ron Stewart to ride his representative Phearson in the $4m Doncaster Mile on the opening day of The Championships.

Stewart, who won the Sydney apprentices’ premiership in 2002-03, has been riding in Singapore and has also had stints in Mauritius and Macau.

Sydney’s champion trainer Chris Waller called him up to win the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) at Randwick on $26 chance Selino three years ago.

Waller also had him on standby to ride Hinged in Saturday’s Doncaster, but the mare was made second emergency, enabling Stewart to switch to the Hawkesbury gelding.

“I wasn’t going to run Phearson, but he made the field, so you have to have a crack at the race,” Widdup said this evening.

“Also, he was given 62kg topweight in Friday’s Muswellbrook Cup (1500m).

“Importantly, Ron can ride Phearson at his 51kg in the Doncaster.

“And Phearson doesn’t mind the wet if the forecast rain arrives later in the week (he has won on both soft and heavy ground).”

Unfortunately, Phearson drew the outside barrier when a capacity field of 20 plus four emergencies was declared this morning.

The horror draw may well be negated somewhat if the heavy rain does arrive.

Widdup has finalised riders for his three representatives in Saturday week’s $1m Provincial-Midway Championships Final (1400m) at Randwick.

Alysha Collett has chosen last Saturday’s Wyong Qualifier winner Ausbred Flirt over Hawkesbury March 9 Qualifier winner Short Shorts.

She rode both mares in their respective victories.

With Collett sticking with Ausbred Flirt, Tyler Schiller goes on to Short Shorts, and leading Melbourne jockey Damian Lane rides Kembla Grange Qualifier winner Ruby Flyer.

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