TUESDAY: July 19, 2022: HAWKESBURY’S leading trainer Brad Widdup’s best season continued with another winner at Wyong today.

Verzenay’s breakthrough victory in the Provincial & Country Maiden Handicap (1200m) was his 60th since the beginning of August last year, and career 234th – but his success has come at a cost.

Under RacingNSW conditions, he can no longer start horses in Midway Handicaps – confined to eligible NSW metropolitan and provincial trainers on a points system – at Saturday metropolitan meetings.

“There’s nothing I can do about it, but of course it’s disappointing,” Brad said this evening en route home from Wyong.

“But it’s been a terrific season, and one I am very proud of.

“I was pretty confident a few months back I could get to my previous best season of 51 (his first full season of training in 2017-18), but to reach 60 is certainly very pleasing.” 

Brad was especially delighted to get Verzenay, a $75,000 yearling purchase at the 2020 Gold Coast Magic Millions sale, on the board at her seventh start after three placings.

Cleverly ridden by Jean Van Overmeire, All Too Hard three-year-old Verzenay ($3) produced a strong burst after straightening to hit the front, and then held off a late challenge from Martini Crusader ($15).

Fellow Hawkesbury representative, Blake Ryan’s $2.50 favorite Separatist, was third.

“Verzenay was a bit weak earlier, and is getting stronger,” Brad said.

“Also, we have worked out the best way to ride her by giving her time to settle instead of putting her up on the speed.

“Nonetheless, I had hoped she would be a bit closer today from an inside gate.

“They went too quickly for her, but she was always travelling and it was good to see her break through.”

. Stable star Icebath, who put the icing on Brad’s season cake by winning the inaugural $2m The Invitation against her own sex at Royal Randwick last October, is not far off beginning her spring campaign and will trial at Warwick Farm on Friday.

The rising six-year-old mare will contest the opening heat for Group horses on the course proper over 900m.

“At this stage, Icebath will probably resume in the Show County Quality at Randwick on August 20,” Brad said.

The Group 3 Show County (1200m) is run on the same program as the Group 1 wfa Winx Stakes (1400m).