SUNDAY: February 21, 2021: BRAD Widdup started three horses at two different tracks yesterday – and almost achieved a perfect outcome with his “girls”!
In his unassuming manner, he wasn’t complaining, but one winner and two close seconds could so easily have been a treble to boast about.
Hawkesbury’s leading trainer won the opening event at Newcastle with Calgary Queen, went within a whisker of also landing the opener at Rosehill Gardens and clinching a city hat-trick with Vulpine, then had to wait until later in the day when Lady Tavista was narrowly beaten in the seventh at Newcastle.
“It was a good day,” Widdup said this morning. “Whenever you take three horses to the races and they all perform well, you have to be happy with that.”
Lightly-raced three-year-old filly Calgary Queen ($6) didn’t give her rivals a chance in the Provincial & Country Maiden Handicap (1200m).
She hit the ground running, and never looked in danger, leaving roughies Members Only ($31) and Finding Alice ($51) to fill the minor placings, with odds-on favourite True Faith ($1.55) a battling fourth.
Chinese-owned Calgary Queen, a $50,000 purchase at the 2019 Inglis Classic yearling sale, was having only her third start yesterday.
“I like her,” Widdup said. “She is a progressive filly and I’m sure she can measure up to at least midweek city grade.
“Her price was a surprise as she had run third first-up on the Kensington track earlier in the month, and was coming back to provincial company.”
Calgary Queen was Widdup’s 16th winner of the season and though Vulpine just failed to make it three on the bounce in town at Rosehill, he was full of admiration for her.
Vulpine ($12) again gave plenty of cheek in the Benchmark 78 Handicap (1100m), and succumbed to the promising Andermatt ($3.70) – the first of Rachel King’s four winners – but not without a fight, only in the closing stages.
“It was another excellent performance,” Widdup said. “She gave a promising young horse (Andermatt) 3kg.
“I’m unsure about her immediate program.
“It’s hard to spell mares when she is going so well, and I wouldn’t mind taking her interstate for a suitable race.
“I’ll see how she does in the next few days and then make a decision whether to keep her in work.”
Widdup also was pleased with Lady Tavista ($3.40), who wasn’t beaten far by Oakfield Hiawatha ($8.50) in the Class 1 Handicap (1300m).
“I decided to take blinkers off after her last run when fourth to stablemate Showtime Lady at Goulburn,” he explained.
“It was good to see her run so well.”
. Classy mare Icebath continues her Group 1 Coolmore Classic preparation in Saturday’s Group 2 Guy Walter Proven Thoroughbreds Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
The Golden Eagle runner-up has done well since her first-up third to Tailleur in the Group 3 Triscay Stakes (1200m) at Randwick a fortnight ago, and this will be her final start leading into the $600,000 Coolmore (1500m) at Rosehill on March 13.