Hawkesbury trainer Brad Widdup made it 13 wins for the new season with another city success, this time at Canterbury Park on Wednesday.
Widdup and brother-in-law, jockey Christian Reith, teamed to land the Benchmark 68 Handicap (1200m) with dual acceptor Za Zi Ba ($5.50), who led throughout and beat $8 chances Cedarwood and Star Sensation.
He opted to start his three-year-old filly in that race rather than the Benchmark 76 Handicap over the same distance, in which his representative Acqume ($7) ran fifth to odds-on favorite Slow Burn.
Widdup began his training career earlier this year, and scored with his first starter, Junglized, at Canberra’s Acton track in late May. He has kept up that flying start, already winning in total 18 races (13 since August 1), including three in town.
Widdup won with Suspenders at Rosehill Gardens on July 29 and then with Acqume at Warwick Farm on September 6. He has won three races will All Too Hard filly Za Zi Ba, so it’s little wonder he has a real liking for her.
“She has done a terrific job this preparation, and is very tough,” Widdup said. “Za Zi Ba has a good cruising speed and can kick at the end, and that’s the way she has won her races to date. On the two occasions she has been beaten, we tried to hold her up and get her to finish off, but it didn’t suit her.”
Za Zi Ba, a $400,000 yearling purchase, is a half-sister to Redoutable Heart, who was runner-up to Upham in the 2015 Group 3 Grand Prix Stakes (2020m) at Doomben. But Widdup doesn’t consider she is middle-distance potential: “She is too sharp, but I think she might manage 1400m at some stage.”
Whilst Za Zi Ba has already been a wonderful advertisement for Widdup’s fledgling career, he is undecided whether to attempt to win another race with her this campaign: “She is getting close to the end of this campaign,” he said. “I’m just not sure whether we will give her one more run or a break.”
Za Zi Ba raced twice (both in town) earlier in her two-year-old season, and then made a winning debut for her new trainer at Wyong on July 25 in a 2YO Fillies’ Maiden Plate (1100m). She won again at Kembla Grange on September 23 against her own sex in a 1200m Class 1 before making a successful transition to city racing on Wednesday.