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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis


Updated: Jul 14, 2022

SUNDAY: June 12, 2022: BRAD Widdup climbed another mountain on his home track today, and Garry Frazer won his third race this season with a nippy filly who is building a good record.

Widdup, Hawkesbury’s leading trainer, clinched his 50th winner of the season when lightly-raced The Himalayas scored at only his third start, whilst Frazer prepared three-year-old filly Rita May for a successful first-up tilt.

It is the second time in only five full seasons that Widdup has notched a half century – and it is already his best season in terms of prizemoney won by his horses.

He won 51 races in his first full season in 2017-18 when his horses earned $1.638m, and already this racing year the Widdup representatives have collected nearly $4.5m.

“It’s been a very pleasing season, especially when I was down to 30-odd horses in November and December,” Widdup said this evening.

“I’ve got 53 boxes, and you always hope to win a least that number of races in a season.”

The Himalayas ($4.40) led home a Hawkesbury trifecta from Jason and Lucy Attard’s Sovereign Express ($7.50) and Frazer’s Uno Artie ($9) in the Irresistible Pools Provincial & Country Maiden Handicap (1300m).

Having only his third start and resuming as a gelding, the Zoustar three-year-old overcame a wide run without cover to break through.

“The Himalayas needed to be gelded after his first two runs late last year, and both his trials at home were good,” Widdup said.

“I would have been disappointed if he hadn’t run Top 3 today, and feel he will eventually get up to 1600m.”

Zhongli Thoroughbreds purchased The Himalayas, a son of Adelaide and Melbourne winner I’m A Flying Star, for $140,000 as a yearling in Adelaide in 2020, and kept him when he failed to reach his reserve later that year when offered at the Magic Millions 2YO’s In Training sale at the Gold Coast.

Widdup is hoping to add to his half century when he saddles three runners at Warwick Farm tomorrow.

His runners are Outlook (Benchmark 78 Handicap, 2400m), Icecrusher (Benchmark 72 Handicap, 1400m for fillies and mares), and Brimstone (Benchmark 72 Handicap, 1400m for colts and geldings).

Willie Pike rides Outlook and Icecrusher, and Tim Clark has been booked for Brimstone.

The Himalayas’ rider Jean Van Overmeire has been in outstanding form at Hawkesbury, bagging eight winners at the last two meetings to take his season’s haul at the track to 10.

He rode a career best five at the previous meeting on May 31, and another three today, also scoring on Communist ($4.80) and Goulburn visitor Tudor Prince ($12).

Xtravagant filly Rita May, carrying the famous white and purple colours of the White family, made it three wins from five starts when she led throughout in the Benchmark 64 Handicap (1000m).

Ridden by apprentice Reece Jones, who rode four winners at Royal Randwick the previous day, Rita May ($2.80 favorite) began brilliantly from a near outside alley and fought on strongly to hold out other fancied rivals Oryx ($3.80) and Either Oar ($4.40).

It was her third win from only five starts this season for her trainer, who is in no rush with the three-year-old.

“She did a good job today, and will take improvement from the run,” Frazer said.

‘But we’ll let her go through her grades.”

Rita May is the first living foal of the All American mare Datable. Her first foal was born dead, and Rita May’s two-year-old half-sister So Datable (by So You Think) is with Mick Price and Michael Kent Jnr in Melbourne, and is yet to race.

. Rachel King, a previous Hawkesbury premiership winner, notched a double on Capital Elle ($2.50 favorite) and Denetta ($8), to edge to one win from Tommy Berry in the jockeys’ premiership, with two meetings remaining.

Josh Parr on 14 wins currently sits a close third behind Berry (16) and King (15).

Stradbroke Handicap winning duo Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott (14 wins) lead James Cummings (12) in the trainers’ premiership. Neither had success today.

. Widdup and Frazer’s wins today on top of Terry Croft’s victory with Straya Pride at Newcastle yesterday took to 149 the number of winners prepared so far this season by Hawkesbury trainers.

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