SUNDAY: August 30, 2020: $101 winners are obviously not commonplace – and few trainers can claim to have ever achieved the feat.
Hawkesbury’s leading trainer Brad Widdup can now boast not one, but two.
Little more than a year after his first winner at century odds – Run For Glory on debut at Newcastle in a 2YO Maiden Plate (1200m) last year – Widdup did it again yesterday, this time at Kembla Grange.
On this occasion, however, it was the joint rank outsider Beauchamp’s third start – and it took a concerted effort by trainer and his staff just to get him back to the races, let alone break the ice in the Maiden Plate (1200m) for colts, geldings and entires.
Beauchamp, a son of former brilliant sprinter Brazen Beau and the four-times South Australian winner, Flying Spur mare Little Miss Bourke, fetched $135,000 as a yearling at the Gold Coast year.
But the now three-year-old had bucked in his first two starts, and was ordered to trial again by RacingNSW stewards after his latest unplaced performance at Kembla Grange on August 6 before being cleared to continue his racing career.
He got the “green light” after winning a four-horse 1000m trial on his home track on August 17, and whilst his trainer naturally didn’t declare him a “good thing” or anything of the like prior to yesterday’s race, he expected him to run well provided he was on his best behaviour.
“I thought he would be around $40, and the owners had a nice little win on him,” Widdup said today.
“Beauchamp has shown something from the start, and I put him in the early two-year-old trials last September.
“But he wasn’t quite ready, and I gave him a good break.
“Beauchamp obviously has been a difficult horse to train, but I’ve persevered because I knew he had some ability.
“We’ve done a lot of work with him in the last few weeks, and the staff deserve great credit.”
Widdup made a number of gear changes yesterday, removing blinkers, a cross over noseband and tongue tie, and replacing them with cheekers and parading him in ear muffs (removed at the barrier).
He reverted to an old “trick” with the rubber cheekers (designed to hold the bit high in the horse’s mouth to prevent it from getting the tongue over the bit).
“Great trainers such as Bart Cummings and Jack Denham successfully used cheekers 30 years ago, but they don’t seem to be used much these days,” Widdup explained.
“We’ve had a few things to overcome with Beauchamp. We put a roller bit on him in the walker to help with his tongue problem, and an elastic girth when he has been ridden to get him used to some tightness to try to stop him from bucking.
“It was good to see all that work rewarded yesterday by winning for a good bunch of owners.”
Beauchamp (Koby Jennings) beat fancied pair Argenteus ($2.60 favorite) and Sidearm ($2.80), and trainer and jockey combined later in the program to clinch a double.
Widdup has certainly found the key to Bigger Than Thorn ($5), who was impressive in taking the Benchmark 64 Handicap (1000m) and has now put two wins together, having scored at Goulburn on July 31 in a Class 1 Handicap (1000m).
“Bringing him back to these shorter trips has really worked,” Widdup said.
“He seems to relish a decent pace and overpower his rivals. There’s no point trying to extend him to longer races when he is going so well.”
Owner Max Whitby outlaid $200,000 at the Gold Coast in 2018 to secure the Snitzel four-year-old as a yearling, and Bigger Than Thorn has notched three wins and two placings from only seven starts for him.
Jennings rode Bigger Than Thorn off the pace and once a split came in the straight, he quickly put the issue beyond doubt.
He raced clear to score by nearly two lengths from Crescent ($20) and Tchaikovsky ($8).
The Kembla double gave Widdup three winners in the first month of the new season and, ironically, both Beauchamp and Bigger Than Thorn were emergencies for their respective races, sufficient scratchings enabling them to secure starts.