TUESDAY: May 18, 2021: WHEN it comes to trackwork, Queen Bellissimo is anything but flash.
Thankfully for Hawkesbury’s leading trainer Brad Widdup and owner Gerry Harvey, it’s a far different story when the Swiss Ace filly goes to the races.
Queen Bellissimo ($2.90 favorite) made it two wins from her only three starts when she added a Class 1 Handicap (1250m) at Newcastle today to her record.
Ridden by Alysha Collett, the lightly-raced three-year-old assumed control not long after the start and beat Son Of Sampson ($10) and Thailand ($6).
“Queen Bellissimo is none too flattering when she gallops on her own,” Widdup said this evening.
“That’s not the case though when she trials and goes to the races.
“Naturally, I’d rather have a good racehorse than a flash trackworker.
“I mix up her trackwork by galloping her both on her own and at other times with a companion.
“I’ve got a number of lightly-raced young horses showing promise, and Queen Bellissimo is one of them.
Widdup, who clinched his 26th winner of the season and 164th overall since beginning his training career four years ago by scoring with his first runner (Junglized on Canberra’s ACTON track) on May 26, 2017, had never counted Gerry Harvey amongst his clients until Queen Bellissimo came along.
“I got a call out of the blue last year from Gerry’s racing manager Luke McDonald asking if I would train her,” he said.
“Daniel Robinson (renowned horse breaker and fellow Hawkesbury trainer) did some work with Queen Bellissimo early and gave her one trial at Hawkesbury last June.
“I haven’t rushed her and didn’t start her until she won first-up at Bathurst in December after winning a Kembla Grange trial.”
Widdup then gave Queen Bellissimo a break and didn’t produce her again until April 24 when she
Finished third in a Class 1 Handicap (1200m) at Kembla, after finishing second in a 1080m trial on the synthetic track at Randwick 15 days earlier.
Whether the filly chases another victory in the coming weeks at the provincials again or in town is uncertain.
“I’ll have a look at the programs and find another race which suits,” Widdup said.
“There might be a Benchmark 64 at the provincials or we might have to go to a midweek in town.
“She keeps improving and I’m sure she can go on with the job.”
. Widdup was also pleased with the performance of another of his promising young horses Nags To Riches (two wins and two placings from four starts) at Rosehill Gardens last Saturday.
The Written Tycoon filly ran third to the pacy Ballistic Lover in the Listed Denise’s Joy Stakes (1100m).
“She was tackling Listed company for the first time, and showed a lot of heart,” Widdup said.
“Nags To Riches is still learning, and I’m planning to give her one or two more runs this preparation before she has a break.”
Fastnet Rock filly Outlook is another of the Widdup team going the right way, and will be an acceptor for both the Rosehill (Benchmark 72 Handicap, 2000m) and Doomben (Group 2 The Roses, 2000m) meetings on Saturday.
“I’ll look at both fields after acceptances tomorrow and make a decision which way to go,” Widdup said.
“It’s been a long-range plan to get her to the Queensland Oaks ($600,000 Group 1 over 2200m at Eagle Farm on June 5).”
Outlook, who races in the same colours as stable flag-bearer Icebath, broke through in a 1600m Maiden Plate at Kembla Grange on April 24 before being narrowly beaten in a Benchmark 64 Handicap (1850m) at Newcastle on May 8.
. Icebath has been spelling for a month since her photo-finish second to Cascadian in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile at Randwick on April 10, and Widdup is hoping to inspect her next week to determine when she returns to his stable for a spring campaign.