MONDAY: April 11, 2022: BRAD Widdup is seriously considering backing up Icebath for a third consecutive weekend to try her at 2000m at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
The leading Hawkesbury trainer will wait until Wednesday morning before making a final decision, but is keen to run his classy mare in the Group 3 JRA Plate and has Kerrin McEvoy on standby for the mount.
Icebath has been responsible for two outstanding performances at The Championships, finishing third to Mr Brightside in the $3m Doncaster Mile on April 2 before filling the same placing in Nimalee’s $1m Queen of the Turf Stakes over the same course last Saturday.
On a day when backmakers found it near impossible to make ground, Icebath clocked one of the fastest closing sectionals of the day (last 400m in 25.09 seconds), notching another Group 1 placing (her fourth) and lifting her earnings to almost $4.25m.
“It was a brilliant effort, and it’s frustrating she can’t crack it for a Group 1 victory,” Brad said this evening.”
“She has pulled up well so far from last Saturday’s race, and it’s a good opportunity going back to a Group 3 to have a throw at the stumps at 2000m with her.
“I can’t see why she won’t handle the distance as she relaxes and is strong to the line.
“I won’t do much with her this week, but will saddle her on Wednesday morning.
“If she is bright and happy, I’ll accept for the JRA Plate.”
Icebath heads the weights with 59kg. There are 17 entries and 13 can run with the rail out 8m from the 1600m to the winning post and 5m the remainder.
If Icebath lines up on Saturday, it will definitely be her final start this campaign.
“She won’t be going to Brisbane for the winter carnival, and will have a break after the JRA Plate,” Brad said.
“Next season will be her swansong, and we want to have her at her best for the spring and autumn carnivals, and hopefully get that Group 1 on the board.”
. Brad also has Devil Racer (Group 3 Frank Packer Plate, 2000m) and Queen Bellissimo (Benchmark 88 Handicap, 1200m) at Randwick on Saturday.
Devil Racer, a 1550m winner at Canterbury last month, ran well when fourth to the promising Straight Arron in the Group 3 Carbine Club Stakes (1600m) on the opening day of the Championships on April 2.
Queen Bellissimo has won five of her nine starts to date, and is unbeaten at both recent trials at Randwick in preparation for her resumption.