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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis


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SUNDAY: September 11, 2022: BRAD Widdup and Daniel Robinson produced outstanding training performances to clinch first-up victories at Kembla Grange yesterday.

Widdup landed the Maiden Plate (1000m) with first starter Justina, and Robinson got stable flag-bearer Karmazone ready to win the 1600m Provincial Benchmark 64 Handicap at his first start since last December.

The double gave Hawkesbury four winners in the last three days, following on from Tommy Wong’s success with Speedy Song on his home track last Thursday, and Widdup scoring with Ilzoomya at Goulburn the following day.

Rider Jean Van Overmeire took full advantage of the rails barrier to get Snitzel three-year-old Justina ($4.40) home ahead of Belriah ($4.40) and Headstock ($11), and was understandably delighted to get another victory for Paul Fudge’s Waratah Thoroughbreds.

But he revealed it had been a difficult assignment to get Justina to the track to make a winning debut.

“She has been very immature, and I’ve had to be really patient with her,” he said today.

“The plan was to try to get her off to a winning start at Kembla, but I wasn’t certain about starting her until race morning as I didn’t want to run her on a heavy track.

“Now that she has won, I may give her a break.

“There’s no rush with her, and the prizemoney is so good you can still win races with four and five-year-old mares if you look after them early in their career.”

Justina is one of a number of horses Widdup trains for Waratah Thoroughbreds, and she is closely related to the trainer’s stakes-winning six-year-old mare Vulpine, who is being sold.

Justina’s dam, the American-bred mare Elusive Sparkle, is a daughter of Elusive Quality.

Like Justina, Vulpine was also sired by Snitzel and her dam Elusive Leone is also a daughter of Elusive Quality.

Widdup is warming to starting Epsom Handicap joint third favorite Icebath in Friday’s $200,000 Group 3 Tibbie Stakes (1400m) at the Newcastle Cup carnival.

“I’ll nominate her in the morning, and study the entries, but there’s a good chance I will give her the chance to put a Group race on her record,” he said.

. Karmazone ($15) made light of his 61kg topweight and lengthy absence from the racetrack to come from last at the 800m and overpower $3.30 favorite Burning Need and Lady Superspy ($6) in the last few bounds.

He might not have raced since just before last Christmas, but his trainer wasn’t worried in the least.

“I have been confident about him for weeks,” Robinson said today. “He has been going well, and I gave him a quiet 1250m trial at Hawkesbury on August 22.

“I picked this race out, and it’s terrific when something you plan comes to fruition.”

Robinson and his partner Ally purchased Karmazone for $27,000 as an Adelaide yearling in 2017, intending to get him ready to sell as an early two-year-old at the Inglis Ready2Race sale.

But they took a shine to the Eurozone youngster and decided to keep him. The now seven-year-old has won five races (along with five placings) and earned just over $150,000.

Robinson, an experienced horseman who trains a few horses as a hobby as a side to his DPR breaking-in business, would love to win his first city race with Karmazone, but isn’t sure where he will run him next.

“He has been placed three times in town, and I’m sure he is capable of winning a Midway Handicap,” he said.

“There is one of those (a Benchmark 72 Handicap) over 1800m at Randwick on Melbourne Cup day, but that’s a fair way off, so I’ve got some thinking to do.”

Robinson said Karmazone was a “bit scratchy” after running on some firm tracks late last year, but gave him the all-clear after scans cleared the gelding of any bone damage.

“I initially intended giving him four months off, but got very busy with our breaking-in business (he was sitting on a breaker when interviewed this morning) and it finished up being six months,” he explained.

“His feet are fine, and it’s a matter now of looking after them.”

Robinson also ran the stayer Dexluther ($81), who tailed the field home behind his stablemate yesterday, and also has an unraced Sooboog two-year-old in work.

“We sold an unraced four-year-old Beat Hollow to Hong Kong earlier this year after he ran third in a Hawkesbury trial in February,” he said.

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