WEDNESDAY: August 3, 2022: HAWKESBURY’S leading trainer Brad Widdup has begun the new season the same way he ended the last.
Following on from a victory at the Forbes Cup Showcase meeting last Sunday with Free State on the final day of the old season – his 63rd winner and 237th overall – he opened the new racing year by scoring with Icecrusher at Canterbury today.
And what a win it was!
The now eight-year-old mare went to the post a $3 favorite in the Benchmark 72 Handicap (1580m), and rounded up her rivals after giving them a start.
Icecrusher came from last in the field of seven to nab front-runner Mystic Mermaid ($6.50) right on the line to clinch her second Sydney win on end.
Brad was full of praise for leading apprentice Tyler Schiller, whose 2kg claim lessened the mare’s weight to 59kg; the same weight she carried in landing a similar race over 1550m on the Kensington track on July 20 for Kerrin McEvoy.
“Tyler won the race by staying on the fence on the home turn, and thus saving valuable ground before getting her out into the clear,” he said this evening.
“He is a young lad riding with great confidence.”
The much travelled Icecrusher is a winner in three States, having also been successful in Perth and Adelaide, and this was career win no 11.
Along with 13 placings from 51 starts, she has collected more than $266,000 in prizemoney.
But today’s race may have been her last.
“Icecrusher has done a really good job, and I have left it up to her owners whether she has another start or is retired to stud,” Brad said.
“She doesn’t carry a lot of weight, and I have worked her out better this time by backing off on her trackwork and swimming.
“I’m delighted to win two midweeks in a row in town with her, and we’ve been fortunate to find races where there has been enough speed to suit her.
“We haven’t stretched her out too far either.
“It has clearly worked since a break as she has run two seconds and then won the last two races.”
A well-bred mare, Icecrusher is from the Giant’s Causeway stallion Frost Giant (a Group 3 winner in Ireland) from the now deceased Montjeu mare Lady Jeumont.
She began her career in Western Australia before moving to South Australia, and then trainer Shayne Cahill brought her across to New South Wales last year and left her with Brad after a few starts.
Icecrusher has won from 1100m to 1600m, and such is her versatility that she has won on good, soft and heavy tracks.
. Meanwhile Jay Ford will step in as a substitute rider for Kerrin McEvoy on Icebath in a 1000m trial on the Warwick Farm course proper on Friday.
“Kerrin is away, so pleased to have Jay handle the mare,” Brad said.
The Group trial includes fellow Hawkesbury mare, Edward Cummings’ triple Group 1 winner Duais, Cox Plate runner-up Anamoe and that four-year-old’s stablemate Cascadian, who narrowly beat Icebath in last year’s Doncaster Mile.
Brad is planning to begin Icebath’s spring campaign at Royal Randwick on August 20 in either the Group 1 wfa Winx Stakes (1400m) or Group 3 Show County Quality (1200m).