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  • Writer's pictureHawkesbury Race Club


SUNDAY: July 12, 2020: IT wasn’t only the fact that Brad Widdup made it 40 wins for the season on home turf today which gave him special pleasure.

Hawkesbury’s leading trainer took great delight in winning with debutante Nags To Riches ($5.50), who beat more fancied pair Windswept ($3.50) and Tolerate ($3.10 favorite) in the PKB Autoclave Services 2&3YO Maiden Handicap (1000m).

He trains the Written Tycoon filly for a syndicate which includes Lustre Lodge, a broodmare and agistment farm located between the Yarramalong and Dooralong valleys near Wyong, and recalled a chance meeting at a yearling sale which led to him gaining new clients.

“I was walking through the Magic Millions sale at the Gold Coast the year before last, and Lustre Lodge’s Peter Colley and Glen Spratt pulled me up and began chatting,” Widdup said this evening.

“They gave me a Snitzel mare Live To Dream to train for the last few runs of her career, and I won a Warwick Farm 1600m race with her in July 2018 before she was retired to stud, and subsequently produced a Sebring filly.

“They are really good clients, and it was great to get an immediate result for them today with Nags To Riches.

“She had been trialling in good style and I expected her to race well first-up.”

A $135,000 yearling purchase at the Gold Coast last year, Nags To Riches was positively ridden by Andrew Adkins.

He took full advantage of the two-year-old’s rails draw in a field of eight, and drove her through to quickly be in a challenging position.

Once Nags To Riches hit the front, she wasn’t going to surrender and comfortably fended off her two main rivals.

“Now that she has shown above average ability, I’ll probably give her one more run and then a break,” Widdup said.

It has been another excellent season for Widdup, who notched the 137th winner of his brief career.

After taking out his licence toward the end of the 2016-17 season when he prepared five winners, he tallied 51 and 41 in the following two seasons.

“It’s been a difficult season, but we’ve continued to work hard and the winners have been coming,” Widdup said.

“With only a couple of weeks left this season, I’ll be doing my best to at least equal or better last year’s number,” Widdup said.

. He has another smart two-year-old filly on his hands in Sebring youngster Shaik, who, like Nags To Riches, scored on debut (at Newcastle on June 27) and followed up with an eye-catching third to North Pacific at Rosehill Gardens yesterday.

Stewards noted Shaik was held up for some distance rounding the home turn when close to the heels of the winner, and then was inclined to race greenly and lay out in the straight, resulting in rider Glen Boss having difficulty in fully testing her.

Stablemate Switched has earned a break after notching yet another placing – her seventh in a row in town – at the Rosehill meeting.

Such is the three-year-old filly’s consistency that she has won twice and been placed nine times from 12 starts.

“She will have a couple of weeks off to freshen up, and then we’ll look for a suitable race with a lighter weight to hopefully get a city breakthrough with her,” Widdup said.

Sandbar, Widdup’s first black type winner, failed at Rosehill under 59kg in the Benchmark 88 Handicap (1200m) and his trainer is convinced he simply doesn’t handle heavy tracks.

“He has pulled up okay,” Widdup said. “It’s frustrating, and it may be a while before we get another good surface in town.”

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