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  • John Curtis


SUNDAY: June 13, 2021: A Saturday treble – including a deserved Listed breakthrough with Adelong at Royal Randwick – further propelled Brad Widdup’s best season in terms of prizemoney.

And Hawkesbury’s leading trainer says it’s not over yet.

Adelong’s Bob Charley AO Stakes victory at Randwick along with successes at Newcastle with Pensera and Queen Bellissimo took Widdup to 31 wins for the season and overall prizemoney of more than $3.5m – nearly double that of last season’s $1,874,895 when he prepared 41 winners; the same number he also had in 2018-19.

“I’m very happy with how things have gone this season, especially considering we have had a few roadblocks,” Widdup said today.

“I haven’t given up hope of training as many winners as we did the previous two seasons. I’ve got a fair bit of firepower left before the season ends (on July 31).”

Widdup was understandably delighted to clinch a stakes win with the talented Adelong ($5.50), who again showed her 1100m flair.

Seven of her eight career wins from only 17 starts have been at that distance, and her trainer is now looking to the spring with Group 3 thoughts in mind.

“Adelong has done a terrific job this preparation, and full credit to her rider Jay Ford, who has got it perfect in her last two wins at Randwick,” Widdup said.

“We’ll stop now and give her a few weeks off. I’ll sit down and map out a program, but clearly it would be nice to get at least a Group 3 with her in the spring.

“Perhaps a race such as the Group 3 Toy Show Quality over her pet distance and against her own sex at Randwick on August 21 could be a suitable target.”

Adelong won a Benchmark 88 Handicap – yes over 1100m – at Rosehill Gardens 12 months ago before subsequently finishing sixth as a $2.15 favorite to Sweet Deal in the Toy Show.

“The circumstances are different now,” Widdup said. “Adelong had breathing issues in the early spring last year and had tie-back surgery.

“I’ve been really pleased with her right through this preparation.”

Widdup, whose treble took his career tally to 169, has done an outstanding job with the now five-year-old Medaglia D’Oro mare, who fetched only $10,175 as the 47th bid when sold online through an unraced three-year-old in April, 2019.

Whilst Widdup was at Randwick, he also was thrilled to win races at Newcastle with Pensera and Queen Bellissimo – the first two of a magnificent five-win haul for Alysha Collett.

“Alysha came out and rode work at Hawkesbury one morning last week, and I’ve long admired her ability,” Widdup said.

Pensera, a $500,000 Magic Millions purchase at the Gold Coast in 2018, evoked wonderful memories of the late Guy Walter, the 36-times Group 1 winning trainer who passed away suddenly in 2014 only days after winning the Doomben Cup with the mare’s dam Streama.

Pensera carried the same colours as Streama did in her 10 wins under Walter’s care.

“I got this mare second-hand, but haven’t had any trouble with her, except that she is a bit quirky, not unlike Adelong,” Widdup said.

“I thought she was my best chance at Newcastle, and it was terrific to win with her at only her second start as a rising five-year-old.”

Pensera ($8.50) landed the Maiden Plate (1400m) against her own sex, and Queen Bellissimo ($2.25 favorite) made it three wins from four starts when also beating her own sex in the Benchmark 64 Handicap (1400m).

Widdup trains the Swiss Ace three-year-old for Gerry Harvey, and believes she can make Saturday grade in town at least.

. Stable star Icebath, runner-up in both last year’s $7.5m Golden Eagle and this year’s $3m Doncaster Mile, is back in the stables being readied for a spring campaign.

“I wasn’t going to bring her back until early June, but the owners went and saw her last month and sent me a photo,” Widdup said.

“I went and picked her up straight away, otherwise she would have rolled back in as she did so well during her break.”

Whilst the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Randwick in early October is a likely target, Widdup’s first goal is to win a black type race with Icebath against her own sex in late winter/early spring.

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