SUNDAY: April 30, 2023: HAWKESBURY’S leading trainer Brad Widdup has hit a half-century of wins for the third time in a season amidst plans to cast his racing net far and wide this week. 

Brad made it 50 for the current racing year when favorite Party Doll ($1.85) scored at Newcastle yesterday after he scratched his three representatives (Cross The Rubicon, Short Shorts and Phearson) at Rosehill Gardens when the track deteriorated following consistent rain.

Party Doll’s breeder-owner John Cordina, who races the lightly-raced Sooboog three-year-old under his Summertime Thoroughbreds banner, was on course as Brad, watching from home, breathed a sigh of relief when the filly’s number was semaphored as the winner of the Maiden Handicap (900m).

“It was a pretty ugly watch being trapped wide, and I thought ‘oh not again’ when Party Doll and the runner-up Stylish Pedrille ($3) hit the line,” he said, referring to a similar finish 17 days earlier in a Provincial 2&3YO Maiden Handicap over the same trip when the $31 outsider West Of Dalby nabbed her in the last bound.

“I thought we had been beaten for a second time, and she did a good job to win in the circumstances.

“John (Cordina) is a regular Saturday racegoer in town, and I’m glad the filly was successful seeing as though he went to Newcastle to watch her race.

“Party Doll has got ability, and is still a work in progress, that being only her third start.

“I’m sure she will manage up to at least 1100m.”

Whereas the filly is purely a sprinter at this stage, her dam Monaco Doll, a High Chaparral mare, won five races from 1600m to 2300m and was placed in the Listed Queensland Cup (3200m) at the Sunshine Coast in 2015.

Brad also trained Party Doll’s year older brother Sky Ace until recently, and won three races with him from 1400m to 2100m.

He plans to keep Party Doll in work to get “more racing under her belt” and build her experience.

Brad prepared 51 winners in his first full season of training in 2017-18 and a benchmark 63 last season, with yesterday’s victory increasing his career tally to 287.

He has been forced to again change plans with Provincial-Midway Championship Finalist Short Shorts, who could now go to the first of the two-day Wagga Cup carnival on Thursday for the $200,000 Town Plate (1200m) at the Showcase fixture.

“It will depend on the weather,” Brad said. “If the track is okay, I might run both Short Shorts and The Poacher.”

Short Shorts set a new 1400m Kembla Grange record in a sizzling Qualifier victory on March 18 before finishing fifth to Spangler (who had run fifth behind her at Kembla) in the $500,000 Final (1400m) at Royal Randwick on April 8, the heavy ground dulling her brilliance.

She was then first emergency for the Group 3 Pioneer Services Hawkesbury Crown (1300m) last Saturday and didn’t make the field, then was withdrawn yesterday from a Benchmark 78 Handicap (1300m) at Rosehill, again dogged by a wet track.

Brad also is sending his last-start Wyong winner Youthfull to Queensland early this week to contest a Benchmark 78 Handicap (2400m) at the Sunshine Coast on Saturday.

The feature Hollindale Stakes meeting is normally run at the Gold Coast, but the course proper is undergoing a major reconstruction.

Youthfull’s form was confirmed when Dreamdeel, whom she edged out at Wyong on April 20 over 2100m, led throughout to score over 1850m at Newcastle yesterday.