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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis


SUNDAY: May 15, 2022: BRAD Widdup clinched a two-track double yesterday with Vulpine and Global Ausbred – and both are Brisbane-bound.

Hawkesbury’s leading trainer landed the Listed Ortensia Stakes (1100m) at the Scone stand-alone meeting with one of his stable flag-bearers Vulpine ($12), and Benchmark 64 Handicap (1870m) at Newcastle with promising three-year-old Global Ausbred ($3.90).

Vulpine (Jay Ford) staged a remarkable performance on resumption to overcome a slow start, whilst Global Ausbred (Jean Van Overmeire) made light of his 60kg to lead virtually throughout.

The double continued Widdup’s excellent 2021-22 racing year, which seems certain to be his best in terms of both winners and earnings since he won with his first starter (Junglized) at Canberra’s ACTON (synthetic) track on May 26 five years ago.

He trained 51 winners in his first full season in 2017-18, and yesterday’s brace took him to 47 in the current season – with two and a half months remaining.

Already, his horses have set a prizemoney benchmark, having earned nearly $4.2m this season.

“I’m pretty confident we can finish the season off strongly,” Widdup said today.

“The stable is performing well, and we’ve got some nice young horses to come.”

Widdup’s 47 winners (10 in the last six weeks) so far this season represents 35 per cent of the 134 overall victories for Hawkesbury trainers since August 1.

Dual Group 1 placegetter Icebath is the trainer’s biggest earner, but there is no question Vulpine holds a special place in his heart.

The beautifully-bred daughter of Snitzel, a $340,000 yearling purchase, has already earned $600,00 and just as importantly continues to enhance her value as a broodmare when her racing days are over.

Vulpine was Widdup’s first Group winner (the Group 3 Wenona Girl Quality, 1200m) at Royal Randwick in March last year, and has since won two Listed features – the Starlight Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill Gardens last November and yesterday’s Ortensia.

“She has won seven races (and been placed seven times) and always comes good for us when you need her to,” Widdup said.

“Absolutely she is a wonderful advertisement for our stable, and I’m especially pleased for her owner Brad Hunt (BK Racing & Breeding) and Ben Vassallo (racing manager).”

Whilst Vulpine led in her two Listed successes, her Ortensia win was in sharp contrast as she reared when the start was effected and lost ground.

“It’s not the first time she has come from behind, but not as far back as she was yesterday,” Widdup said.

“Even when she missed the jump, I still thought she would run well and finish fourth or fifth as there was plenty of pace on.

“Vulpine loves galloping room, and she did a tremendous job to finish off down the outside as she did.”

The five-year-old mare will go to Brisbane and run next in either the Listed Helen Coughlan Stakes (1200m) against her own sex at Eagle Farm on Saturday week or Group 2 Moreton Cup (1200m) against all-comers at the same track a week later.

Vulpine was having her first start since finishing second to Snapdancer (who won the Group 1 Robert Sangster Classic at Morphettville yesterday week) in the $1m Magic Millions Fillies and Mares (1300m) at the Gold Coast on January 15.

Widdup was stiff not to quinella the Ortensia as his other representative Surreal Step ($17) was luckless in finishing seventh.

Stewards reported he was slow to begin and was held up from the 300m to approaching the 100m.

A recent addition to Widdup’s team, he will run next in either the At Sea Handicap (1100m) at Randwick on Saturday week or Listed Bob Charley AO Stakes (1100m) at the same track a fortnight later.

Widdup won the At Sea-Charley Stakes double last year with Adelong.

Global Ausbred earned a trip north for Saturday week’s $1m Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m) at Eagle Farm with his authoritative Newcastle victory.

Well rated in front by Van Overmeire, the Maurice three-year-old again showed his talent by comfortably holding out $2.20 favorite Anythink Goes by two lengths.

“Global Ausbred’s owners are keen for him to run in the Derby, and provided he continues to do well, we will give him his chance,” Widdup said.

“I’ll keep him at home and not send him to Brisbane until a couple of days beforehand.

“Jean Van Overmeire gave the horse a terrific ride yesterday. Global Ausbred is a big-striding colt who likes to keep rolling.”

Widdup also accepted with Global Ausbred for yesterday’s Queensland Derby lead-up, the Group 3 Rough Habit Plate (2143m) at Eagle Farm, but pulled the pin.

“He was third emergency and not certain of gaining a start, and the weather wasn’t too good either,” he said.

Whilst Widdup didn’t land the Midway Benchmark 72 Handicap (1700m) at Scone yesterday with Outlook ($6.50), he was delighted with the runner-up’s performance behind import Colour Sergeant.

“She is definitely improving and looks set for a successful campaign as she steps out over more ground,” he said.

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