FRIDAY: December 4, 2020: INCLUDE Brad Widdup amongst the chorus of trainers extolling the virtues of expatriate Englishwoman Rachel King.
And Hawkesbury’s leading trainer is hoping she can “star” for him at his home track meeting on Sunday; the penultimate of the calendar year.
Widdup didn’t hesitate to book King, who made history by becoming the first female to win the Hawkesbury riding premiership last season, for both his runners on the six-race program.
She rides Outlook in the Elite Electrical Services Maiden Handicap (1500m), and Soldier’s Desire in the All Dunn Excavations Maiden Plate (1300m).
King has ridden 40 NSW winners so far this season, including 22 in town (boosted by a career best four Saturday metropolitan winners at Rosehill Gardens last weekend), and isn’t letting the grass grow under her feet at Hawkesbury either.
She has already posted seven wins, trailing front-runner Tommy Berry by only three in her bid to defend her “title”.
“Rachel is a star,” Widdup said this morning. “She is developing into the complete package now.
“She has a great racing brain and a terrific work ethic.
“Rachel is confident and always gives good feedback after each ride she has for you.”
Widdup has made important gear changes on both his lightly-raced three-year-old fillies.
Each will have the addition of blinkers, replacing winkers.
Fastnet Rock youngster Outlook was an excellent debut second to Newcastle four-year-old Whatsin (racing at Mudgee today) in a 1300m Maiden Plate on her home track on November 19.
Epaulette filly Soldier’s Desire, at only her second start and first since July, ran third to Belieber (favorite on the Kensington track today) in a Maiden Plate (1100m) at Wyong a day earlier.
“Outlook is a nice filly who ran really well at her first start and will appreciate getting up to 1500m on Sunday,” Widdup said.
“She has been inclined to gawk around, and I feel the blinkers will help keep her focused.
“They seem to suit the Fastnet Rock breed.”
“Soldier’s Desire is also a big filly, but has been a bit immature.
“Her race won’t be easy to win, but going to 1300m second up looks the right placement.
“If she doesn’t win on Sunday, I’m sure she will be knocking on the door next time.”
Widdup, who has his Golden Eagle runner-up Icebath (Outlook races in the same colours) back at the stable being readied for an autumn campaign, prepared his ninth winner of the season when Free State scored at Gosford last Wednesday.
He had gone through an exasperating run of seven placings (six of them seconds including Rare Episode at Rosehill last Saturday) since Daksha won at Canberra on Melbourne Cup day.