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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis


SATURDAY: February 4, 2023: OH how it could have and probably should have been another Brad Widdup double yesterday.

Hawkesbury’s leading trainer had won with Surreal Lily and Tintookies at Gosford a day earlier, and scored with a stable newcomer Akaka Falls at Canberra before Showtime Lady was a tragedy beaten at the Kensington twilight meeting.

Akaka Falls, a well-backed $3 favorite and ridden by Alysha Collett, edged out Mike Van Gestel’s Titan Star ($6) in the Benchmark 65 Handicap (1000m) to make it a Hawkesbury quinella.

That was Widdup’s 38th success of the season – and almost certainly he should have added another when Showtime Lady ($5.50) attempted to make it back to back wins in the Benchmark 72 Handicap (1550m) on the Kensington circuit, having led throughout in a Benchmark 64 Handicap (1600m) at Newcastle on January 17.

Unfortunately she was beaten just over a half-length by Summerbeel ($5), but that doesn’t tell the story.

The RacingNSW stewards’ report certainly does.

“Showtime Lady’s apprentice rider Amy McLucas reported that her mount lowered her head and bounded on jumping, resulting in her becoming badly unbalanced in the saddle, causing her to lose the use of her offside iron,” the report stated.

“She added when attempting to regain her iron, she had little control of her mount, whereby Showtime Lady shifted wider and made a forward move before she was able to regain the iron approaching the first turn near the 1000m at which point she was left racing in the lead.”

That Showtime Lady was able to battle on as she did and go under narrowly was indeed a remarkable effort.

“Just another way to lose a race, and you would have to think she would have won otherwise,” Widdup said today.

“Amy did an amazing job to stay in the saddle, and thankfully she was okay and able to ride at Randwick today.

“I was really concerned watching the race that she was going to fall off.

“Showtime Lady also lost her near fore plate in the straight, but appears to have come through the race pretty well given what occurred.”

Five-year-old Headwater gelding Akaka Falls was making his debut for the stable when successful at Canberra yesterday.

An $85,000 Tasmanian yearling purchase in 2019, Akaka Falls was placed at six of his first seven starts in Victoria.

He was subsequently purchased for $40,000 online in May, 2021 by former Central Coast trainer Adrian Britt.

“Adrian has a fencing business and has done some work for us at our Hawkesbury property, and knew I had a spare box at the stables, and next thing the horse was here,” Widdup said.

“Akaka Falls doesn’t carry a lot of condition, and I hadn’t trialled leading up to the Canberra race.

“He is a lovely natured horse and did a good job to win at his first start since last June.”

Akaka Falls notched his third victory and he has also been placed 10 times from 17 starts.

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