SUNDAY: November 21, 2021: TWO out of three ain’t bad!
Hawkesbury’s leading trainer Brad Widdup clinched a two-track double in New South Wales yesterday, and was hoping he could make it an even better day by adding a Victorian victory to make it a treble – but things went awry.
Widdup won the opening event at the Saturday provincial meeting at Gosford with Moon Reader, then with another “girl” Queen Bellissimo, who was impressive at the metropolitan meeting at Kembla Grange.
However, recent first-up winner Authentic Jewel didn’t perform up to her best in the 3 & 4YO Classic (1100m) at the metropolitan fixture at Ballarat.
Moon Reader ($2.50 favorite), a recent acquisition to the Widdup stable, broke through against her own sex in the Maiden Handicap (1200m) at Gosford.
Ridden by Ashley Morgan, the three-year-old daughter of former smart sprinter Odyssey Moon, was having only her third start and had been placed at her first two.
Racing in blinkers, she was too nippy for her rivals, and held off first starter Fairey Barracuda ($10) and $31 chance Topple.
In scoring, Moon Reader provided Widdup with his 15th winner of the season and at the same time gave her breeder and part-owner Richard Walker a real tonic.
“Richard hasn’t been in the best of health lately, so I’m sure the filly’s performance gave him a good boost,” Widdup said.
“Moon Reader has kept on improving with each run, and I’ll look for another suitable race for her in the coming weeks.”
Swiss Ace mare Queen Bellissimo ($6), the only horse one of racing’s biggest owners Gerry Harvey has in Widdup’s stable, is putting together an enviable record.
Having her first start since late June, she made it four wins from six starts when she burnt clear in the straight in the Benchmark 78 Handicap (1200m) against her own sex and defeated Incredulous Dream ($8) and Nicci’s Fling ($10).
Her victory came on the back of two recent trial wins at Hawkesbury (October 18) and Warwick Farm (November 3).
Alysha Collett partnered Queen Bellissimo in both trials, and also had the mount yesterday.
“There were excuses the only time she didn’t race well, and I gave her a break after that run at Rosehill Gardens in late June,” Widdup said.
“Queen Bellissimo is a nice mare, and I’m sure she will manage up to 1400m.
“I usually find that when they win at their first start, they normally have a bit of a future.”
Widdup’s double took his season tally to 16 and his overall number of wins to 190.
He felt he had found an ideal assignment for I Am Invincible filly Authentic Jewel in the Magic Millions 3 & 4YO Classic (1100m) at Ballarat after outclassing her rivals first-up over 900m at Newcastle on October 30.
But unfortunately it didn’t work out.
A well-backed $3.40 favorite, she got trapped wide and finished last of nine runners.
Stewards later reported rider Jye McNeil felt she didn’t adapt to the reverse way of going.
“Authentic Jewel got lost on the home turn, and Jye didn’t persevere when he realised she was all at sea,” Widdup said.
“We’ll bring her home tonight and look for another local race. She is definitely much better than what she showed yesterday.”
. Widdup is looking forward to his quality mare Icebath returning to his Hawkesbury stable tomorrow week.
The inaugural The Invitation winner is currently enjoying a well-earned rest since being narrowly pipped by Superstorm in the Group 1 Kennedy Cantala (1600m) at Flemington on October 30.
“You can’t give them too long out as the autumn carnival will be upon us before you know it,” Widdup said.
“Icebath went out in good order, and the break no doubt will do her the world of good.”
At this stage, Widdup is looking to resume Icebath against weight-for-age rivals in the $250,000 Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on February 12 rather than the Group 3 Triscay Stakes (1200m) against her own sex that day.
. Widdup’s double along with Claire Lever’s victory with Diva Bella in the second heat of the Sky Racing Provincial Summer Series at Gosford yesterday lifted the number of winners trained out of Hawkesbury to 50 so far this season.