WEDNESDAY, February 21, 2024: THE best is yet to come!

Hawkesbury’s leading trainer Brad Widdup has won two races on end with Owen County – the latest on his home track today – but considers he is doing it over unsuitable distances.

“I feel he is a 2400m horse,” he said this evening.

Widdup continued his great run of late when Owen County ($2.45 favorite) gave jockey Kerrin McEvoy his third winner of the meeting, in the Pioneer Services Benchmark 64 Handicap (2000m).

It was sixth winner in the last 13 days, following on from Noble Tess (February 8th), Dawla (10th), Troika (13th), Confess Our Dreams (14th), and Audrey’s Lane (15th).

But not before his apprentice Zac Wadick asked for correct weight to be delayed in order to view the photo finish print.

Wadick rode King Kikau ($10), who surged at Owen County in the closing stages, but failed by a whisker to get the judge’s nod.

Widdup also nominated Owen Country for the Canberra Cup Preview (2000m) on Friday, but elected to stay at home with the certainty of a wet track.

“He likes the ground but all the same did a good job today with 60.5kg,” he said.

“Owen County had to give the runner-up 3kg after Zac’s claim.”

Widdup took over the Dundeel four-year-old’s preparation after he hadn’t raced since last March, and told the gelding’s owners he would give him a steady build-up.

“Owen County has now won his last two races at the provincials over 2100m and 2000m,” he said.

“But I do believe he will be even better at 2400m.

“If there isn’t a suitable race in the coming weeks, we might freshen him and look to the winter with the likelihood of more wet tracks.”

Widdup is hoping to maintain his momentum with last start Wyong winner Noble Tess at that track tomorrow as he chases his 32nd victory of the season.

He took blinkers off Owen County when he won a Benchmark 64 Handicap (2100m) at Gosford on February 1, and the gelding has now won four of his 18 starts.

Owen County is the last foal of the Encounter mare Alleged Encounter, who was retired from breeding in October, 2019.