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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis


Image: Bradley Photos

SUNDAY: March 10, 2024: A first ever Brad Widdup foursome led a bag of six winners for Hawkesbury trainers yesterday.

Leading Hawkesbury trainer Widdup’s “fab four” included a treble at his home track, capped by Short Shorts’ brilliant victory in the Provincial-Midway Championships Qualifier (1400m), and a Group 3 success with well-backed Tintookie at Royal Randwick.

Blake Ryan and Edward Cummings also won races at home with Love The Cube ($4.20 favorite) and Long Genes ($4.80) respectively, giving Hawkesbury five of the eight winners at the PMC Qualifier fixture.

“It was a great day for sure; they don’t come along very often,” Widdup said today.

“And when these days do come along, they reflect great credit on our staff, who work hard and do such a terrific job.

“Piplup and Audrey’s Lane were both good winning at home, and Short Shorts was fantastic in making the Provincial-Midway Championships Final for a second year running.

“Tintookie put the icing on the cake by winning the last at Randwick, and adding an important Group victory to her resume.

“And our apprentice Zac Wadick rode a double at Hawkesbury (on Long Genes and Piplup) to make the day even better.”

Short Shorts ($3.80), raced by Widdup’s wife Milissa and New Zealander Mark Fraser-Campin, was too good for Convincebility ($8.50) and C’mon Mate ($20), again showing her liking for both being fresh and a good track.

“She doesn’t like heavy ground because her wheels spin,” Widdup said.

“Alysha Collett rides her really well.”

Short Shorts had to work before taking up the running, and thereafter never let her rivals get a look-in, ensuring a spot in the $1m Final (1400m) at Royal Randwick on April 13.

She easily won a Kembla Grange Qualifier last year before finishing fifth to Spangler on a heavy track in the Final.

“It’s another five weeks to go this year’s Final, and I’m inclined to start her again in the interim,” Widdup said.

“I’ll have a good look at the programs over the next few weeks and try to find a suitable race.”

Widdup was equally pleased to get a stakes breakthrough with Tintookie in the Wenona Girl Quality (1200m); the second time he has won the mares’ race.

He was successful in 2021 with seven-times winner Vulpine (Robbie Dolan), who led throughout at $14.

As much as $34 was offered about Tintookie, who started $4.40 favorite and backed up after a luckless run a week earlier at the same track when a close fifth to Tashi in a Benchmark 88 Handicap (1200m).

“There was no reason not to back her up,” Widdup said. “She dropped 2.5kg and Kerrin (McEvoy) gave her a great ride.

“Tintookie has been a wonderful mare for our stable and her owners. She cost only $30,000 as a yearling and has now won five races and picked up nearly $500,000.

“I’m not quite sure where we go with her next.”

Piplup, a three-year-old filly by Inference, came from well back to outstay her rivals in the HRC Motel Maiden Plate (2000m).

Wadick’s 2.5kg claim proved invaluable as she just edged out favorite Fakhra ($2.70), who carried 4kg more.

A $70,000 yearling buy, Piplup was having only her fourth start and first at 2000m.

Blueblood three-year-old Audrey’s Lane (Alysha Collett) made it two wins from as many starts when she landed the Class 1 Handicap (1300m).

The $3.50 joint favorite showed her class when she lifted strongly in the closing stages to defeat Abuse Of Power ($17), following up from her Goulburn debut success over 1300m on February 15, overcoming wide draws on both occasions.

Widdup lifted his number of winners so far this season to 38, whilst Love The Cube was Ryan’s fifth winner in 2023-24 and Long Genes’ Cummings’ eighth.

Ryan paid a deserved tribute to jockey Mitchell Bell for his winning ride on Love The Cube in the Provincial Maiden Plate (1100m).

“Love The Cube is still raw, and Mitchell’s ride won the race,” Ryan said.

“It was a pearler. He got him off the fence when he was racing keenly and outside the leader Highland Eightgee before the home turn, and he toughed it out well in the straight.

“I went to Newcastle for his first run last month knowing the 900m wasn’t really suitable, and things didn’t go his way when he finished fourth, and still was beaten only one and a half lengths.”

A $32,000 yearling buy, the Rubick three-year-old joined Ryan’s team at the request of managing part-owner Craig Blight when the youngster didn’t get to the Ready2Race sale for early two-year-olds.

Stablemate Midori Giant, who broke through at Kembla Grange on February 29 at his fourth start, is likely to chase another win at Newcastle on Thursday week in a Midway Class 1/Maiden Plate (1850m).

After announcing the retirement of his triple Group 1 winning mare Duais, Cummings landed the Class 1 Handicap (1500m) with $200,000 yearling buy Long Genes, a son of U S Navy Flag.

The now three-year-old has raced three times on his home track for two wins and a second.

He broke through in a Provincial Maiden over yesterday’s distance in August last year.

. The six winners yesterday boosted to 111 the number prepared by the Hawkesbury training base so far this season.


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