SUNDAY: November 28, 2021: TWO out of three wasn’t bad last weekend – but three out of three this weekend is even better!
Hawkesbury’s leading trainer Brad Widdup is certainly on a roll with five winners from his last six starters.
Vulpine ($10) kicked off by winning yesterday’s Listed Starlight Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill Gardens, and Outlook ($5) and first starter Short Shorts ($6) put the icing on Brad’s weekend cake by scoring at Newcastle today.
The proof is in the pudding with Vulpine. The five-year-old daughter of Snitzel and heavy ground go together like strawberries and cream!
Vulpine again relished such conditions to clinch her second stakes success, boosting her value as a broodmare when her racing days are over.
But not yet.
Ridden by Jay Ford, Vulpine sported winkers for the first time and never gave her rivals a chance, leading throughout to defeat Dream Circle ($14) and Queensland visitor Tambo’s Mate, the $3.20 favorite.
Her five starts on a heavy track have yielded two wins (the other when she notched her first victory at Kembla Grange in May last year) and three placings.
“Vulpine has never been out of the money when she strikes heavy ground, yet she has won only once from eight starts on soft tracks and not been placed in the other seven,” Brad said today.
“It seems to be either good or heavy tracks she likes as her three other wins have been on good ground.”
Brad was understandably delighted to put a second stakes win on the board for Vulpine’s owner Brad Hunt (BK Racing & Breeding Pty Ltd) and racing manager Ben Vassallo.
“BK Racing & Breeding has been and continues to be a fantastic supporter of my stable,” he said.
“This mare has a superb pedigree and is becoming more valuable with each win.”
Vulpine’s dam Elusive Leone, who died in November, 2017, was a half-sister to dual Group 1 winner and successful stallion Star Witness.
A graduate of the 2018 Magic Millions yearling sale where she fetched $340,000, Vulpine added to her Group 3 victory in the Wenona Girl Quality (1200m) at Royal Randwick on March 6, and lifted her earnings from 25 starts to almost $350,000.
Whilst she won first-up at the start of her third preparation at Kembla Grange in May last year (on a Heavy 9), it has been an entirely different story at her last two campaigns.
It has not been until the sixth start of those preparations – including the current one – that she has won, and her trainer is baffled.
“I can’t work it out,” Brad said. “Vulpine is not a big mare, and is a sharp trackworker.
“But once she strikes winning form, she usually holds it (having won three out of four, all in town, earlier in the year).”
Vulpine contested a 1200m Maiden at the annual Magic Millions meeting in January last year at only her fifth start, and will be back there in just under two months to chase the $1m MM Snippets (1200m) on January 15.
“She is very sound, and we’ll keep her ticking over with the Magic Millions raceday in mind,” Brad said.
“The Listed Razor Sharp Handicap (1200m) at Randwick on Saturday week may be her next run.”
. Brad’s weekend treble took him to 19 winners so far this season, and it is already his second best with prizemoney of nearly $2.3m in the first four months.
And he will welcome back stable star Icebath, winner of the inaugural $2m The Invitation (1400m) at Randwick in October, in the next couple of days.
Icebath will be readied for an autumn campaign, with the $250,000 Group 2 wfa Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on February 12 a likely starting point.
. Outlook, who races in the Icebath colours, took another step on her staying path when she led throughout in the Gary Harley Handicap (2300m Benchmark 64) at Newcastle.
“She is getting stronger, and I’m sure her recent trip to Melbourne has helped her,” Brad said.
“We were hoping something else would cart us along, but when that didn’t happen Tom Sherry did the right thing by taking her to the front.”
Outlook has now earned another crack at city class; a Benchmark 72 Handicap (2400m) at Warwick Farm on Wednesday week shaping as her next assignment.
A $340,000 weanling purchase, Outlook has a magnificent pedigree. She is by Fastnet Rock from Amazing Beauty, a daughter of the great staying influence Galileo.
Outlook is her dam’s last foal. The Irish mare died not long after giving birth to her.
This was Outlook’s third win from 11 starts, whilst Short Shorts ($6) made a winning debut in the Provincial & Country Maiden Handicap (1300m).
The three-year-old daughter of Iffraaj and veteran mare Jabot (21 years of age) is raced by Brad’s wife Milissa in partnership with her breeder and family friend, New Zealander Mark Fraser-Campin.
Short Shorts (Alysha Collett) overcame an awkward draw to sit second in the run, then hit the front in the straight before shifting out abruptly passing the 200m.
Collett got her going again, and she defeated Wealthofknowledge ($6.50) and Adelinda ($4.40).
“Alysha said the filly became a little lost when there was nothing else around her after she hit the front, and she will certainly be better for the experience,” Brad said.
“She has been with me for a few months, and I feel she has a nice future.”