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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis

WIDDUP'S SATURDAY DOUBLE CAPS BIG WEEK


SUNDAY: November 6, 2022: AN impressive Sydney Saturday winner and the opening heat winner of the annual Summer Provincial Series.

The victories capped off a brilliant week for Hawkesbury’s newest Group 1 winning trainer Brad Widdup.

A breakthrough at racing’s elite level with Icebath at Flemington yesterday week and another win at his home track meeting last Thursday with The Impact lifted Widdup to 19 wins (and 256 overall) since the new season began on August 1.

Short Shorts (Tom Sherry) made short work of her rivals in a Benchmark 78 Handicap (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens, whilst Showtime Lady (Andrew Adkins) became the first horse (along with placegetters Dream Eclipse and La Jolie Fille) to qualify for the $150,000 Summer Provincial Final (1600m) at Hawkesbury on December 15 by winning the opening heat (a 1350m Class 5 Plate) at Wyong.

Short Shorts ($9), a four-year-old daughter of Iffraaj, took her record to four wins and three placings from only 10 starts when she led throughout to easily defeat I Am Lethal ($6) and Arnaqueur ($5).

The mare is raced by Widdup’s wife Milissa in partnership with family friend, New Zealander Mark Fraser-Campin.

Unfortunately, his hopes of being on course to see the mare win were dashed when Short Shorts’ race was programmed as the last of 10 at 6.05pm.

“Mark and his family came over for a funeral, and booked their trip home on the last flight out at 6pm,” Brad Widdup said today.

“They were hoping it might have been an earlier race to enable them to go to Rosehill.

“As it turned out, the flight was delayed and they were able to watch Short Shorts win on a phone in the lounge waiting to board the plane.”

Short Shorts is having an excellent campaign, notching a first-up midweek Warwick Farm win over 1300m on September 14 before a second and a fourth at the same track.

“She is definitely better on top of the ground, and she showed that yesterday,” Widdup said.

“I could have run her at Hawkesbury last Thursday in a 1500m Benchmark 68 Handicap, but rolled the dice after she drew poorly and had a big weight (59.5kg) and the Rosehill race appeared winnable.”

Whilst Short Shorts is a possible candidate for next autumn’s Provincial Championships, Widdup said there was no point passing up another opportunity to win a $150,000 Saturday race in the coming weeks.

“I plan to give her only more run before a break,” he added.

Showtime Lady ($2 favorite) made it a Hawkesbury quinella, just stalling off Brooke Somers’ Dream Eclipse ($26) at Wyong in the first of five heats leading up to the Summer Provincial Final on her home track next month.

Widdup now has to plot a path toward that race, and is confident she will handle the 1600m.

“Showtime Lady ran fifth over 1700m at the Flemington carnival 12 months ago when she led and was on the inferior section on that inside that day on a wet track, and was beaten only two lengths,” he said.

“We will aim for the December 15 Final as she has a big syndicate of owners, and it would be nice to get a feature win for them.

“I won’t be able to run her in another heat now that she has won, but there are other races before the final and I can always trial her if necessary.”

Showtime Lady, a five-year-old daughter of Showcasing, was a 2019 $50,000 Gold Coast yearling buy for bloodstock agent James Harron, the successful slot holder in the $15m The Everest at Royal Randwick last month.

She has now won five races and been placed as many times from 18 starts.

HOOFNOTE: The dams of both Short Shorts and Showtime Lady each raced only twice in New Zealand before being retired to stud.

Short Shorts’ dam Jabot ran second at Taupo in August 2005 and then won at Awapuni the following month, whilst Showtime Lady’s dam Venus Bay ran second and third, but 78 weeks apart in 2005 and 2007.

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