SUNDAY: January 21, 2024: BRAD Widdup had a simple but important message for Kerrin McEvoy before he mounted Sneaky Paige at Rosehill Gardens yesterday.

“Don’t give the race away if she jumps well,” the leading Hawkesbury trainer told the jockey in a bid to spring an upset and topple hotpot Time To Boogie in the Benchmark 88 Handicap (1200m).

“Go forward and don’t hold her up, even if you lead for the first couple of hundred metres and then see what happens.”

It could not have worked out better. McEvoy had the mare first out of the barrier and led early before sitting at the favorite’s hindquarters.

He rode quietly in the straight as she loomed alongside Time To Boogie, then waited until the closing stages before really urging her to the post.

Sneaky Paige gamely held off $14 chance Meritable’s late surge, the pair leaving Time to Boogie to finish third.

Not only did Sneaky Paige cause the upset, but also gave her trainer reason to be both relieved and delighted after three unplaced runs this preparation.

Brad took over her preparation last year from the now Hong Kong-based Mark Newnham, and she hadn’t been placed in six starts (three at her first preparation from her new Hawkesbury base).

“Kerrin’s ride was clever to suit her,” Brad said today. “I was getting a bit frustrated with Sneaky Paige as she works like a good horse and won both trials at the start of this campaign, but hadn’t brought that form to the races.

“It was good to see her race as well as she did.

“She has an amazing recovery rate. I haven’t had a horse to recover like her; not even Icebath (Brad’s now retired Group 1 winner) recovered as quickly as this mare.”

In clinching her fifth success at her 24th start, Sneaky Paige also provided her trainer with his 24th winner of the season, and career 320th.

Brad took four horses to Rosehill – and all ran well.

Fun Sunday ($11) and Tintookie ($5) both ran second in the Benchmark 78 Handicap (2400m) and Benchmark 78 Handicap (1100m) respectively, and Cross The Rubicon ($17) ran eighth in the Benchmark 78 Handicap (1500m) against her own sex, but stood flatfooted at the start and gave away slightly more than the margin she was beaten by.

“Fun Sunday has now finished second at both her 2400m runs,” Brad said. “The first was at Caulfield last July when Damien Oliver rode her.

“Tintookie is also very consistent. The winner (Our Kobison) met her a little better on their Randwick clash a fortnight ago and turned the tables.

“They ran the fastest last 600m of the day (33.21 seconds), and Tintookie was beaten just over a length after being held up slightly when getting to the outside after straightening, whereas the winner got a dream run through near the inside.”