THURSDAY: April 28, 2022: HAWKESBURY’S leading trainer Brad Widdup is keen to set the record straight at his home track’s feature metropolitan meeting on Saturday.
Widdup hasn’t had a lot of runners at the annual stand-alone fixture since he took out his licence in 2017 and set up shop at the provincial track, and is yet to win a race.
But he is having an excellent season with 42 winners so far and earnings of nearly $4m, and goes into this year’s renewal with a strong team and hoping to finally put his name on the board on home turf at his club’s biggest day of the year.
“Lovani was my first starter at the stand-alone when she ran fifth in the Gold Cup in 2018 after winning at Hawkesbury 11 days earlier,” Widdup said this evening.
“Then I had Jailbreak and Junglized (Widdup’s first winner) run in the Clarendon Stakes and Hawkesbury Rush respectively the following year.”
Last year, Widdup had a number of representatives, with Hawkesbury Rush third placegetter Adelong ($7.50) and Hawkesbury Crown fourth Akari ($91) doing best of them.
And fortune didn’t smile on Calgary Queen ($26) when a luckless seventh in the Hawkesbury Guineas.
Widdup has five acceptors on Saturday, but has listed Short Shorts as a doubtful runner in the Midway Handicap (1500m) because of her wide draw.
He runs Global Ausbred (Willie Pike) in the Blakes Marine Benchmark 78 Handicap (1800m), Queen Bellissimo (Alysha Collett) and Authentic Jewel (Jay Ford) in the Living Turf Benchmark 78 Handicap (1100m), and Surreal Step (Pike) in the Listed Hawkesbury XXXX Gold Rush (1100m).
“Authentic Jewel and Global Ausbred are my best two chances,” Widdup said.
“Authentic Jewel is a really nice filly (four wins from nine starts), who I believe can go to the next level this preparation.
“She has won her two trials at Randwick leading into Saturday’s race, and has the softer draw of my pair.
“But don’t rule out Queen Bellissimo either. She has won five from nine and two from three first-up.
“Authentic Jewel will go to the Listed Denise’s Joy Stakes (1100m) for three-year-old fillies at the Scone Cup carnival next, and perhaps afterwards to Brisbane.”
Widdup certainly has Brisbane winter carnival aspirations for the rapidly improving Global Ausbred, who is chasing a hat-trick and facing easily his toughest test.
“I doubt you will see a better looking horse on Saturday, and he keeps taking the next step,” Widdup said.
“It is definitely a rise in class from a Canterbury midweek, but it’s the right race to set him up for his next start in Brisbane,” Widdup said.
The $250,000 Group 3 Rough Habit Plate (2000m) at Doomben on May 14 has been earmarked for the three-year-old’s Brisbane debut en route to the $1m Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m) at Eagle Farm a fortnight later.
Widdup’s other Hawkesbury representative is Surreal Step, a newcomer to his team.
He hasn’t raced since finishing fourth to Special Reward in the Listed Razor Sharp Handicap (1200m) at Randwick on December 11.
“I’m happy with how he is progressing, but a bit sceptical about the 1100m,” Widdup said.
“He has had only the one trial, and I think the distance might be a bit short for him first-up.”
. Last year’s Gold Rush placegetter Adelong, with whom Widdup has won eight races, has changed hands.
The smart mare is now owned by Cressfield, who have returned her to the stable which did such a terrific job with her.
“Adelong has had a throat operation and is spelling, but will come back to me when she returns to work,” Widdup said.