TUESDAY: January 17, 2023: TWO jockeys who had never ridden for Brad Widdup played their part in the leading Hawkesbury trainer’s Newcastle double today.
And with a bit of luck, it could easily have been a treble for Widdup, who boosted his season’s tally to 33.
Multiple Group 1 winning rider Brett Prebble, now domiciled in Sydney and forging a link with the trainer, landed the Provincial 2 & 3YO Maiden Plate (900m) on debutante Shalaa’s Moment ($5), whilst apprentice Amy McLucas gave a bold front-running display to score on Showtime Lady ($4) in the Benchmark 64 Handicap (1600m).
Prebble will partner Widdup’s star mare Icebath when she resumes in the Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick next month, and followed up a Rosehill Gardens double last Saturday by making an immediate impact at Newcastle, where he had not ridden for a few years.
Despite beginning awkwardly and having to race wide, Shalaa’s Moment overhauled hotpot Soobooco ($1.65) to make a successful start to her career for North Queensland breeder-owner Joe Rapisarda.
“Joe does a terrific job breeding his horses, and is terrific to train for,” Widdup said this evening.
“This filly has been a handful, and that’s the reason why she hasn’t raced until today.
“A lot of credit goes to Andre Rabbett and Rosie Jilla, who ride Shalaa’s Moment in her work at Hawkesbury.”
Widdup also gave credit to McLucas who, like Prebble, was in the winning list at Rosehill last weekend on Trooper Knuckle in the TAB Highway, for her display on Showtime Lady, who burst back into the winning list.
“This looked a suitable race for Showtime Lady, who was coming back to a Benchmark 64 Handicap and Amy’s 3kg claim proved invaluable,” he said.
“She controlled the race out in front nicely. It was a very good ride.
“Showtime Lady has been a good mare for her owners. That was her sixth win today.”
The Showcasing five-year-old travelled sweetly once she took up the running, and comfortably held out $3.50 favorite Acosta and Fairway Star ($8.50), who chased her throughout.
Another Widdup first starter, the Astern three-year-old Owari, was an excellent second at $41 in the CG&E Maiden Handicap (1400m), beaten just over a length.
He was taking ground off the winner Last Hand ($12) once he got clear space at the end, but it was too late.
RacingNSW stewards reported Owari was slow to begin and shortly after was hampered by the winner, who shifted out. Then passing the 50m he had to be shifted to the inside of Last Hand to continue into clear running.
Owari is a younger half-brother to Widdup’s recent Canterbury winner Fudai. Both are raced by Pip Cooper.