THURSDAY: May 25, 2023: IT’S New York calling!

Leading Hawkesbury trainer Brad Widdup’s breakthrough victory with lightly-raced filly Dawla at Gosford today was popular that far afield.

Brad was at the Bathurst TAB meeting with first starter, two-year-old colt Invaida Prince (who finished an encouraging fifth in a 1200m Maiden), and fielded an overseas call from Dawla’s major part-owner Adrian Whittingham, a Sydney businessman.

“Adrian took business acquaintances out for dinner in New York, and rang me after watching Dawla’s race,” he said this evening.

“He was very excited. Adrian is a terrific owner and it was great to get a nice result for he and his family.”

Dawla ($9) was having only her fourth start, and Brad opted to put blinkers on the Almanzor filly in the 2 & 3YO Maiden Handicap (1600m).

A $70,000 New Zealand yearling buy, she had finished third and fifth over 1400m and 1500m at her previous two Newcastle starts.

“Dawla isn’t a big filly, but I’ve been really happy with her progress,” Brad said.

And he was entitled to be even happier with her today after an excellent performance.

Dawla settled last at the 1200m, was still second last at the 800m and began a searching run approaching the home turn.

She swept around the field and went right on with the job to defeat $2.70 favorite Commando Jack and $61 outsider Sonny Fella.

Dawla’s victory continued an excellent week for Brad, who scored with Akaka Falls at Newcastle last Saturday and recent stable arrival Guzumped at Kembla Grange on Tuesday.

He has now trained 54 winners in not quite the first 10 months of the season – only nine shy of his benchmark 63 last season – as he bears down on a career 300.

Brad doesn’t have a runner at Goulburn tomorrow, but will be represented at both the Royal Randwick and Kembla Grange meetings on Saturday.

He has last start placegetters Likeabomb, Cross The Rubicon and Phearson engaged at Randwick, and Brad’s victory with Dawla was the 170th winner trained out of Hawkesbury so far this season.