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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis


SUNDAY: January 9, 2022: HERE’S the latest!

Hawkesbury’s leading trainer Brad Widdup is on the verge of a career milestone of 200 winners.

Widdup moved to within one win of a double century when The Herald broke through at Nowra today on heavy ground.

Having only his second start and ridden by Blake Spriggs, The Herald ($2.80) was displaced as favorite by eventual runner-up Spitfire (2.60), but made all the news by leading virtually throughout.

Spriggs made the running on the three-year-old, who looked certain to win in the straight when he veered toward the inside in the closing stages and almost threw the race away.

The Herald had just enough in reserve to hold off Spitfire, with Mr Cheeky ($5.50) more than two lengths away in third place.

The Herald made a promising start to his career when a nice closing fourth to As You Were in a Goulburn Maiden Plate (1200m) on December 17.

Widdup is at the Gold Coast for the Magic Millions yearling sale this week, and was naturally delighted to win the race for Waratah Thoroughbreds.

“Waratah’s Paul Fudge has given me a few horses now, and it’s pleasing to be able to repay the faith he has shown in me,” Widdup said this evening.

“I’ve had The Herald for this preparation, and he wasn’t showing a lot on the track until I stepped up his work.

“That seemed to switch him on, and I’ve got no doubt he will be better suited when he is ridden from behind.

“I’ll look for another suitable race for him in the coming weeks.”

The Herald, a son of Danehill stallion Holy Roman Emperor, was a cheap $30,000 purchase in 2019 at the Magic Millions National weanling sale.

Holy Roman Emperor sired the 2015 Australian Derby and Caulfield Cup winner Mongolian Khan, and also an Oakleigh Plate winner (Sheidel in 2017), underlining his versatility.

Widdup’s 199 winners to date from 1288 starters have come at a strike rate of just over 15 percent, and he is striking at 43 per cent for a place with a further 350 placegetters.

The Herald was his 25th winner of the current season in just over the first five months.

. Vulpine is likely to be his sole representative at Saturday’s Magic Millions meeting at the Gold Coast.

“Vulpine has been entered for both the MM 1300m race for fillies and mares and 1200m MM Snippets (an open company sprint),” Widdup said.

“I’ll talk with BK Racing and Breeding to determine which race we go to.”

. Fellow trainer Garry Frazer made it a Hawkesbury double at Nowra when he produced Summer Promise to score first-up in the Maiden Plate (1100m) against her own sex.

Ridden by Grant Buckley, Summer Promise ($13) led throughout and clung on gamely to hold out Boston Belle ($41) and Cullier ($9.50) in a close finish.

Summer Promise was having only her sixth start – and first since late September – and had been placed at Goulburn and Bathurst in her first campaign.

The three-year-old daughter of Outreach is the second foal of the Charge Forward mare Alessia (her first foal Rubinesque didn’t race), and Frazer secured her for $30,000 at the 2020 Magic Millions yearling sale at the Gold Coast.

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