SUNDAY: December 4, 2022: HAWKESBURY’S leading trainer Brad Widdup made it 24 wins for the season when Zouson Boy scored at home today.

But it took all of the three-year-old gelding’s grit to land the money in the Cunningham Custom Homes Class 1 Handicap (1500m).

After looking in real trouble on the home turn, the $2.50 favorite rallied strongly to edge out second favorite Baranof ($3.20) after the pair had duelled over the last 200 metres.

It has been an excellent start to the first third of the season with Brad’s 24 winners numbering five more than at the same stage 12 months ago when he went on to post a benchmark 63 winners.

His current tally of winners, along with 41 placegetters, has him only $5000 shy of $2m prizemoney earned by his horses in just over the first four months, highlighted of course by a Group 1 breakthrough with Icebath at the Melbourne Cup carnival at Flemington a month ago.

Brad prepares Zouson Boy for former leading Hong Kong trainer John Moore, who secured him for $80,000 at last year’s Inglis Classic yearling sale.

The now Zoustar three-year-old is from the Dehere mare Allegra, a two-winner including a Canterbury victory in 2007 when in the care of Happy Clapper’s trainer Pat Webster.

“Zouson Boy has come back really well this preparation,” Brad said this evening.

“He took benefit from his first-up third over 1400m at Kembla Grange last month, and did a good job to win today.

“I expected him to lead, but Tom Sherry took a sit and then sat at Portnoy’s heels when that horse was keen to take up the running.

“Zouson is a big long-striding horse and got a bit lost when he laid out rounding the turn, but showed plenty of courage to battle back and win.”

. Brad has decided not to run both his representatives Showtime Lady and Sonic Tycoon again before Thursday week’s $150,000 Sky Racing Summer Provincial Series Final (1600m) at Hawkesbury.

He had contemplated starting Showtime Lady at Warwick Farm on Wednesday in a Benchmark 72 Handicap (1600m), but did not nominate her.

. Stablemate Fire Lane has been listed at $26 with for the $2m Magic Millions 2YO Classic (1200m) at the Gold Coast on January 14, with the impressive debut Group 3 Breeders Plate winner Empire Of Japan the early $6 favorite.

Hellbent filly Fire Lane won the Max Lees Classic (900m) on debut at the Newcastle metropolitan meeting on November 12, and subsequently also won a 896m Canterbury barrier trial last Tuesday.

“She is well and heading toward the Wyong Magic Millions 2YO Classic (1100m) on Wednesday week,” Brad said.