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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis


THURSDAY: November 3, 2022: A lightly-raced well-bred four-year-old finally made an “impact” on his home track at Hawkesbury today.

Having only his fourth start, The Impact ($7) broke through in the Belle Property Hawkesbury Provincial Maiden Handicap (1100m) – and no one was more relieved than his trainer Brad Widdup.

“It’s been a real battle with him,” Hawkesbury’s leading trainer said this evening.

“He needed to have knee surgery early on.

“I just wasn’t happy with him and got my vet to check him over, and he discovered a problem.

“We had to give him plenty of time to recuperate following the operation.

“The Impact has been a real thorn in my side, and it was good to see him produce winning form.

“He did a good job as he had to overcome the outside barrier and showed plenty of determination in the straight to edge out the favorite.

“Hopefully he has now turned the corner.”

Widdup was especially praiseworthy of the brilliant Newcastle apprentice Dylan Gibbons, who got The Impact home from $2.50 favorite Counter Move.

There was a touch of irony in the result as Gibbons won the last race at Royal Randwick only two days earlier for Counter Move’s Newcastle trainer Nathan Doyle on unbeaten mare Norwegian Bliss.

Gibbons also won on Sky Ace at Gosford last Thursday for Widdup, who isn’t hiding his admiration for the Novocastrian.

“Dylan is a smart young lad, and an excellent jockey,” Widdup said. “He gets it.

“I enjoy putting him on.

“The Impact isn’t an easy horse to handle, and Dylan gave him a beaut ride.”

A $150,000 purchase at the 2020 Inglis Australian Easter yearling sale, the Zoustar gelding is the first foal of the Haradasun mare and four-times Queensland winner My Shabella.

She missed to Bel Esprit and then slipped to Spill The Beans before having The Impact, and had only one other foal (a Deep Field colt) before being retired from breeding recently.

Widdup, who clinched a Group 1 breakthrough with Icebath last weekend, was unlucky not to go home with a Hawkesbury double.

Ausbred Flirt ($4.20) was a strong-finishing close third in the De Bortoli Wines Benchmark 64 Handicap (1300m), after being held up rounding the home turn and did not secure clear running in the straight until approaching the 100m.

Stablemate Short Shorts was withdrawn from the Irresistible Pools & Spas Conditional Benchmark 58 Handicap (1500m) when she drew the outside barrier, and instead will run at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday in the Benchmark 78 Handicap (1400m), with Tom Sherry aboard.

. Kirwan’s Lane added today’s Listed Lander Toyota Ladies Day Cup (1600m) to his Group 3 Hawkesbury Gold Cup victory over the same distance at the Saturday stand-alone meeting in April.

But not before locally-trained $51 outsider Momack gave the $1.80 favorite’s backers a real fright.

Trainer Blake Ryan withdrew Momack from the same race Short Shorts came out of, and made the running in the $160,000 feature, being caught only in the closing stages.

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