WEDNESDAY: December 15, 2021: HAWKESBURY’S leading trainer Brad Widdup is bearing down on a career 200 winners, and is hoping to edge closer to that milestone when he plays at home tomorrow.
Brad, who began training at Hawkesbury four and a half years ago after serving a lengthy “apprenticeship” and won with his first starter (Junglized on Canberra’s ACTON track on May 26, 2017), continued his excellent start to the current season by notching his 21st winner when Narumi made an impressive debut at Orange yesterday, lifting his overall tally to 195.
He is keen to follow on at his home track’s final meeting of the calendar year tomorrow, where he will have four representatives; Hayami (Red Hot Fire Protection Provincial & Country Maiden Handicap, 1100m), The Himalayas (Farewell Scot Hayman 3YO Maiden Plate, 1400m), Mr Bond (Complete ITS Group CG&E Benchmark 64 Handicap, 1400m), and Short Shorts (Royal Richmond Hotel F&M Benchmark 64 Handicap (1400m).
Non-claiming apprentice Tom Sherry will ride Hayami and Mr Bond, Jay Ford partners The Himalayas, and Alysha Collett sticks with her recent Newcastle debut winner Short Shorts.
Collett also was in the saddle when Narumi ($12) finished too strongly for Foxwell ($3.20) in the Maiden Plate (1400m) at Orange yesterday.
Narumi, a $46,000 yearling buy at last year’s Inglis Classic yearling sale highway session, is the first horse Brad has trained for Flying Start syndications – and he has had to be patient indeed.
The All Too Hard three-year-old had trialled seven times over three separate preparations before beginning her career yesterday.
“Narumi is a good sort, and was excellent at home but had disappointed in her trials,” Brad said this morning.
“Her older half-brother Morrissy is a five-times winner in Victoria, and it was a matter of giving this filly time because she was never going to be a 1000m horse.
“That’s why I started her off at 1400m, and she did a good job, especially after being tardy to jump when they were in the stalls for a long time.”
Brad considers he has some good chances at Hawkesbury tomorrow, and feels another three-year-old filly Short Shorts, who will race in winkers, is the best of them.
The daughter of Iffraaj, jointly raced by Brad’s wife Milissa and family friend, New Zealander Mark Fraser-Campin, overcame an awkward draw to win a 1300m Maiden Plate on debut at Newcastle on November 28.
“I couldn’t find a suitable Class 1 to run her in, but she is a big track horse and tomorrow’s race looks really suitable against her own sex,” Brad said.
“She has drawn awkwardly again tomorrow (the outside in a field of 10), but is an on speed type and will roll forward provided she jumps well.
“Short Shorts has trained on strongly since the Newcastle race. I am really happy with her.”
Brad also expects lightly-raced Dissident three-year-old Hayami to run well first-up tomorrow.
Hayami ran fourth at Muswellbrook and Hawkesbury at her only two starts mid-year, and has been placed at both recent trials in preparation for her resumption.
“She is also drawn wide, but will roll forward,” he said. “A Provincial and Country Maiden is a nice target to kick her off in, and I’d love to see her win for a good bunch of owners.”
Promising stayer Mr Bond, raced in the same interests as Short Shorts, is another beginning a new preparation, and Brad has opted to take blinkers off the gelding.
“We’ll ride him conservatively under his 62kg topweight to give him the chance to finish off,” he said.
“I’m not expecting him to win first-up, but it will be a bonus if that happens and no doubt he will take improvement as he starts to stretch out over longer distances.”
Brad’s other Hawkesbury runner is The Himalayas, and he regards him as a better chance than his current outsider’s price suggests.
“Nothing went right for him at his first run at Warwick Farm over 1200m on December 1,” he said.
RacingNSW stewards reported the Zoustar three-year-old was fractious in the barriers prior to the start being effected, and began awkwardly and lost ground.
. Stable star Icebath is pleasing her trainer during the early stages of another preparation aimed at important autumn targets.
“Icebath is so competitive you could put a saddle on her and race her on Saturday,” Brad said.
“She has her head out of the stable, no doubt wondering when she is going back to the races.
“I will trial her once, perhaps twice prior to her planned resumption at Randwick on February 12, most likely in the Group 2 wfa Apollo Stakes (1400m).”