THURSDAY: April 9, 2020: BRAD Widdup didn’t expect Carte Blanche to win “upside down” at Wyong today – and may have inadvertently found the best way to ride her!

Hawkesbury’s leading trainer clinched his 26th victory of the season when the four-year-old Casino Prince mare came from last to claim the Class 1 Handicap (1300m).

“I expected Carte Blanche to be up on the pace, probably sitting outside the leader, and got a real shock when she settled a clear last,” Widdup admitted this evening.

“But it could have turned out to be a blessing. Going on the manner in which she won, it looks as though we may have found the best way to ride her.”

Steward reported Carte Blanche was slow to begin and soon after the start was crowded between two other runners.

It didn’t matter. Widdup’s brother-in-law Christian Reith began a searching run on the mare from the 500m and she circled the field.

Carte Blanche ($8.50) maintained her momentum right to the post and beat well-backed Power Of Attorney ($3.80) and $41 outsider Rocquette.

This was the mare’s second success from eight starts, and only once has she finished further back than fifth.

That was at her previous run when 10th to Zakat in a Benchmark 64 Handicap (1200m) at Kembla Grange on March 21.

“She over-raced that day, and I decided to take the blinkers off to help her relax,” Widdup explained.

Carte Blanche is the first foal of the Encosta De Lago mare Not A Token Woman, who raced only seven times for a Nowra win and a couple of placings (including one in town), and is raced by ATC vice-chair Julia Ritchie’s Bangaloe Stud syndicate.

. Widdup was understandably delighted with Akari’s third placing behind Rubisaki in last Saturday’s Group 3 PJ Bell Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick, and is chasing an autumn breakthrough with his talented filly in Saturday week’s Group 3 James HB Carr Stakes (1400m) at the same track.

In the interim, he is hoping he can parlay his Wyong result into further success at Randwick on Saturday on Day 2 of The Championships.

He is backing up promising juvenile Wheelhouse in the Listed Fernhill Mile (1600m), and also seeking a black type result with underrated three-year-old Icebath in the Listed South Pacific Classic (1400m).

Pierro colt Wheelhouse (Sam Clipperton) has been runner-up at his only two runs to date, and Sacred Falls filly Icebath (Jason Collett), after winning two on end, was a cheeky sixth (beaten less than a length) as a $51 outsider to Asiago (subsequent Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes winner Shout The Bar was second) in the Group 3 Kembla Grange Classic (1600m) on March 13.