BRAD Widdup got a “choice” result with a newcomer at Newcastle yesterday – and hopes it is the start of a big week for him.
Lexi’s Choice ($8.50), ridden by brother-in-law Christian Reith, won the Class 1 Handicap (1200m) for fillies and mares to register the second victory of her 19-start career.
In posting his 33rd winner of the season, Hawkesbury’s leading trainer today paid tribute to the Choistar four-year-old’s original trainer Scott Singleton, who switched last year from a previously successful Hawkesbury base to set up shop at Scone.
“Lexi’s Choice came to me from Scott in great order,” Widdup said. “The owners are local people and wanted her to race closer to home.
“She had trialled really well leading up to yesterday’s race. She beat Ranier (who ran in yesterday’s Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap at Eagle Farm) in a Hawkesbury trial last month.
“But I had second thoughts about starting her when she drew awkwardly (nine in a field of 11) because she is a slow beginner.
“However, her owner convinced me to go ahead as she has performed well fresh in the past.
“Christian gave her a great ride to get over on to the fence, saved valuable ground on the home turn and then found a gap in the straight when it mattered.”
Once clear, Lexi’s Choice finished resolutely to overhaul front-runner Hyannis Port ($7.50), with Mrs Maisel ($3.80) running home out wide to grab third placing.
Widdup withdrew his talented sprinter Adelong from yesterday’s Listed Bob Charley AO Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick (won by Classique Legend), and she will head up his team at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
Adelong is seeking her sixth win from eight starts in the Benchmark 88 Handicap (1100m), and James McDonald returns as her rider.
“Almost certainly, this race will be it with her for the time being,” Widdup said.
“She can have a little break afterwards as there are plenty of nice races for mares in the spring.”
Joining Adelong at Rosehill will be Switched and Showtime Lady.
Consistent All Too Hard three-year-old Switched has missed a placing only once from nine starts, and on resumption was runner-up to the pacy Witherspoon on a heavy Royal Randwick surface on May 23.
Showtime Lady, a Showcasing two-year-old, won her only start at Canberra late last year, and has twice trialled well recently at Gosford and Hawkesbury.
Stablemate Sandbar, who resumed at Rosehill Gardens on May 30 when fifth in a Benchmark 88 Handicap (1200m), races next at Randwick on Saturday week in the Winter Dash (1200m).
. Lexi’s Choice was Widdup’s 130th career winner in three years of training, and he is looking forward to building on his success in the new season.
“I’m really pleased to have 27 yearlings on my books, and will continue to work hard to get the best possible results for our owners,” he said.