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  • John Curtis

WIDDUP'S OBJECTIVE MET WITH CROSS THE RUBICON


TUESDAY: March 1, 2022: TO cross the Rubicon is a metaphor which means to take an irrevocable step that commits one to a specific course.

It arose from Julius Caesar crossing the Rubicon River in north-eastern Italy in 49BC which eventually led to the Roman Civil War.

And whilst Hawkesbury’s leading trainer Brad Widdup clearly isn’t an advocate of war, he did commit himself to a specific course with a lightly-raced Dissident mare called Cross The Rubicon when she entered his stable not so long ago as a maiden.

His objective was to try to win a race or two with her – and he has achieved that very quickly.

Having only her third start for her new trainer (who took his season’s tally to 33) since arriving from a leading Melbourne stable, Cross The Rubicon ($13) at Goulburn today made it two wins in a row.

With leading apprentice Tom Sherry aboard, Cross The Rubicon showed a brilliant turn of foot to trounce her rivals in the Class 1 Handicap (1400m), following on from a Newcastle 1200m Maiden victory on February 12.

Once she got clear running near the inside in the straight, she quickly put the issue beyond doubt and won by just over two lengths from A Thousand Years ($7) and Highballer ($9.50).

Whilst Widdup wasn’t in the least surprised at his mare’s performance, he was amazed at her odds.

“I was a bit disappointed with Cross The Rubicon’s first-up third at Wyong but she was ridden too close to the lead,” he said.

“It was a different story at Newcastle when ridden off the pace, and the same today.

“She did a terrific job to score at Newcastle, and I couldn’t believe she was at double figure odds today.”

Cross The Rubicon’s performance was such that Widdup will now consider tackling a Saturday Midway Handicap with her if he can find a suitable race.

“She was strong at the end of the 1400m today, and I can’t see why she won’t run 1600m,” he said.

Cross The Rubicon is the first foal of the Lonhro mare Trinity River, who won three races – one on the Geelong synthetic track and the other two at Gosford and Wyong.

Widdup reported his stable star Icebath had come through unscathed from her fourth as a $2.05 favorite in last Saturday’s Group 2 Guy Walter Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick.

“James McDonald said she was never comfortable in the heavy ground, even though she has raced well on wet tracks before,” he said.

“She was bright this morning and went for a canter and a swim. I’m pushing on with her.

“If she gets one of the wildcards for the All-Star Mile at Flemington on March 19, she will definitely go there as some of her owners are from Melbourne.

“Otherwise, it will be either the Coolmore Classic against her own sex at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday week, or George Ryder Stakes there a week later.

“Both are 1500m Group 1s.”

. Fellow Hawkesbury trainer Claire Lever took her season’s tally to 10 when Highly Desired ($3.50 favorite) was successful first-up in the Conditional Benchmark 64 Handicap (1300m) after a tussle with second favorite Turning ($3.80).

It was also Lever’s second victory in a few days, having scored with debutante Jukebox Flyer at Newcastle last Saturday.

Talented Newcastle apprentice Dylan Gibbons clinched a Goulburn treble in winning on Highly Desired.

He also rode Lever’s seven-year-old gelding to another first-up win over the same distance at Goulburn last October.








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