SUNDAY: May 24, 2020: BRAD Widdup kept a “jump” ahead of his rivals to chalk up his 30th winner of the season at Goulburn today with a filly who in all likelihood was having her final start.
Islands, a three-year-old daughter of boom stallion I Am Invincible, took the Belle Of the South (a 1200m Benchmark 66 Handicap for fillies and mares) at the transferred Nowra meeting.
Ridden by Koby Jennings, $3.40 favorite Islands took the lead in the straight and was never seriously challenged to beat Arithmetic ($3.50) and another Hawkesbury representative, Noel Mayfield-Smith’s Polhampton ($4.20), to post the second victory of her 15-start career.
Her first was in a 2YO Maiden (1200m) at Kembla Grange in July last year.
Islands fetched $400,000 at the 2018 Magic Millions yearling sale at the Gold Coast, but has since been on sold.
“She was purchased to go to stud, and myself and a group of mates took out a lease to race her,” Widdup explained on his way home from Goulburn.
“They have had a great time poking fun at me because I haven’t been able to win another race with her until today.
“I felt she probably should have won her previous start at Bathurst on Anzac Day when second.
“Islands is a very well bred mare and not short of ability, but has been very frustrating.
“I have put her over the jumps a few times to help switch her on, and decided to race her without blinkers today.
“Islands galloped with stablemate Switched (who ran second at Royal Randwick yesterday) on Tuesday morning and had the better of her.
“But I think that might be her last run as her owners are keen to breed from her next season.”
Islands is the 10th foal of Bella Maddelena, a daughter of the now deceased 1995 Golden Slipper Stakes winner Flying Spur.
Her second foal Military Rose won both the 2010 Magic Millions Classic at the Gold Coast and Group 2 Reisling Stakes at Rosehill Gardens, and the Group 3 Gold Coast Guineas the following year.
Islands was Widdup’s 127th career success, and Hawkesbury’s leading trainer ponders that whilst 30 winners since August 1 is nothing to be sneezed at, the season could have been so much better.
“We’ve had 73 placegetters, and many of them have been seconds,” he said.
“Switched ran really well at Randwick yesterday, and we’ll be trying to win another race with her in the coming weeks.”
Widdup decided not to risk his breakthrough black type winner, smart sprinter Sandbar, first-up on a heavy Randwick track yesterday.
“Sandbar is going allright, but I didn’t want him having a gut-buster having not raced since December,” he explained.
“There is a race for him this weekend, but I am leaning to wait a bit longer and start him in the Bob Charley AO Stakes (formerly June Stakes) over 1100m at Randwick on Saturday week.”