There could not have been a more fitting outcome. Hawkesbury’s leading trainer Brad Widdup claimed his first city quinella at Rosehill Gardens yesterday with the two horses who have already contributed strongly to his brief career.
Widdup won his 10th race this season when Sandbar ($7.50) returned to winning form, narrowly beating stablemate Junglized ($6) in the Benchmark 88 Handicap (1200m).
Four-year-old Sandbar (Christian Reith) won his first two starts and provided his trainer with a black type breakthrough when successful in the Listed Lonhro 2YO Plate (1100m) at Warwick Farm in February last year.
Junglized gave Widdup the best possible start to his career, winning on Canberra’s synthetic ACTON track on May 26, 2017 when his first ever starter.
Sandbar was Widdup’s 107th winner in only two and a half years, and brother-in-law Reith has been aboard in 48 of them.
“It was great to see both horses perform so well,” Widdup said today.
“Sandbar underwent a tie-back operation after a below par run in the Listed Fireball Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill in March.
“We knew there had to be something wrong; that certainly wasn’t his true form.
“I thought he ran a great race first-up at Randwick a couple of weeks ago in the Sydney Stakes (1200m) when he drew poorly and ran out of condition only the last bit.
“He was coming back from a strong Group 3 that day to a Benchmark 88 yesterday and was fitter.”
Sandbar, a four-year-old stallion by Snitzel, was a $650,000 Magic Millions yearling purchase in 2017 and has now won four races (two in Listed company) and been placed at both Group 2 and 3 level.
Junglized, a five-year-old gelding (also by Snitzel), has won six races and notched eight minor placings from 26 starts.
He was resuming yesterday and gave a great sight, going under narrowly to his stablemate.
“I’m sure we can win another Saturday race with Junglized over the summer,” Widdup said.
“I’ll keep him on the fresh side and probably won’t run him again until either the Starlight Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill at the end of the month or a Benchmark 88 over the same distance there a week later.”
Sandbar, meanwhile, has come through yesterday’s race without any problems and is heading to the inaugural $1m The Hunter (1300m) at Newcastle on Saturday week.
Widdup also his sights on the Magic Millions meeting at the Gold Coast in January with the four-year-old.
Widdup will have two representatives at this week’s Melbourne Cup carnival at Flemington.
His talented filly Akari (James McDonald) is seeking a hat-trick in the Listed Hong Kong Jockey Club Stakes (1400m) against her own sex on Tuesday.
Unfortunately, Akari, another of the Sniztel progeny, has drawn the outside in a capacity field of 16, but she has settled in well in Melbourne and Widdup is confident in her ability and is hoping she can get cover in the run.
Stablemate Liam’s The Boss, a lightly-raced The Factor three-year-old who has been placed twice from only four starts, runs in the TCL TV Stakes (1800m) against his own age at Thursday’s Oaks meeting.