JUNE 10, 2024: BRAD Widdup is on the verge of his most successful season in terms of winners – and is looking to the future with confidence. 

Hawkesbury’s leading trainer narrowly missed a city double at Royal Randwick last Saturday, but didn’t miss at Canterbury today, scoring with Maili ($11) and Jedibeel ($5).

That lifted him to 58 winners for the current season, only five short of his benchmark 63 in 2021-22, and there’s still seven weeks remaining.

There have been no Group 1 winners like his now retired star mare Icebath, but Brad is understandably proud of the stable’s achievements, and says he is building nicely for next season as well.

“We’ve got a really nice team of young horses, and moved on others who weren’t up to city and provincial standard,” he said.

“Importantly, we have cemented good relationships with many clients who have now been with us for quite a while.

“And it’s been very satisfying to bring quite a few horses through to measure up to Saturday city grade.”

Such has been Brad’s focus on provincial and city racing this season that he has prepared only two winners (at Goulburn and Orange) on country tracks, and his 38 at the provincials puts him only four behind Sydney’s champion trainer Chris Waller.

His stable is certainly on a roll as the season edges towards a close at the end of July. Six winners have come out of his Hawkesbury barn in the last 12 days.

He bagged a home track double with She’s All It and Be Real on May 30, won with Guzumped (Wyong last Thursday) and Ruby Flyer at Randwick last Saturday, and the Canterbury pair today.

Yes Yes Yes filly Maili’s victory in the 2YO Maiden Plate (1250m) against her own sex was significant in more ways than one.

Not only did the $300,000 yearling buy win her first race for BK Racing and Breeding, but it was also the first time apprentice Zac Wadick had won a city race for his boss Brad.

“Maili has good pace from, the barrier, and I mentioned to Zac about having her in the first four,” Brad explained.

“I didn’t really expect her to lead but Zac took the initiative when nothing else wanted to, and it paid dividends.”

Wadick stole a handy break on the filly just after straightening, and she had enough in reserve to hold out Glitterscript ($5.50) and Howler ($7.50).

Whereas Maili led throughout, Jedibeel got no favours at all, as his rider Tyler Schiller put it, having to race wide before overhauling $2.25 favorite Mojo Magic in the Benchmark 88 Handicap (1100m).

It was the Savabeel gelding’s fifth win from only 12 starts, boosting his earnings to nearly $250,000 – and it’s by no means finished.

Brad paid $190,000 for Jedibeel at the 2021 Inglis Classic yearling sale on behalf of owner Mike Gregg, who races the gelding in the bumble bee colours of his University Of NSW Cricket Club.

“I had hoped to pay no more than $150,000 but really liked him and didn’t want to let him go,” he said.

“He keeps improving and I will have a good look through the programs to decide where we go next with him.

“Like Maili’s owners BK Racing & Breeding and their racing manager Ben Vassallo, Mike Gregg is also a great supporter of the stable, and I now have a number of horses for him.”