The quality of both Hawkesbury’s training facilities and its trainers has hit a new peak. Victories at Goulburn on Thursday to Wayne Austin and Brad Widdup signalled a half-century of Hawkesbury winners since the latter scored with Witches at Royal Randwick on New Year’s Day.
And the facilities are set to get an even bigger boost when Hawkesbury opens its new Polytrack – weather permitting – just prior to its gala Saturday stand-alone program on April 28. Fifty winners in just two and a half months speaks volumes for Hawkesbury as a provincial training circuit – and no doubt there are many more to come.
Austin and Widdup’s successes at Goulburn with a roughie and a well-backed runner respectively continued an excellent week for the locals.
Scott Singleton scored on his home track with Jaxim at last Saturday’s Polytrack Provincial Championships meeting, and then Rebecca Brewer (Fields Of Glory) and Matthew Vella (Bella Vella) chipped in with more winners at Wyong on Monday.
Widdup, enjoying a stellar first full season, won with new acquisition Dissolution at Warwick Farm on Wednesday, and followed that up with Hanover Square on Thursday.
A four-year-old son of Manhattan Rain, Hanover Square (Christian Reith) was backed from $5 to $4.20 in the Class 2 Handicap (1400m).
He was given the run of the race and gamely held out $1.80 favourite Discreet Charm, who didn’t help her chances by not racing truly over the closing stages. Hanover Square was placed at Bathurst and Goulburn his first two starts since joining Widdup’s team, and then finished fourth to Subway Surfer over 1600m at Mudgee on February 25.
“We learned quickly that he had trouble running 1600m,” Widdup said. “This (1400m) seems to be his best distance. Christian rode him well, putting him on the speed. It was a good result.”
Austin shocked punters with $41 chance Invincible Queen, who led throughout in the Maiden Handicap (1400m) against her own sex. Warwick Farm apprentice Alena Skerritt, who makes a weekly trip to Hawkesbury to ride work, has partnered the I Am Invincible filly in all her five starts.
Skerritt took Invincible Queen straight to the front, and she was never threatened, scoring comfortably from other roughies Ons Vier ($21) and another Hawkesbury representative, Wade Slinkard’s Jewel Of Honour ($41), as the $1.20 hotpot Cappamore labored into sixth in the seven-horse field.
“I bought her as a weanling for clients, and she wasn’t all that dear,” Austin said. “She raced too hard at Orange last time, and Alena dragged her back trying to teach her to settle.
“She obviously learnt something from that, but is still quite immature and will go for a break now. I’m confident she will come back a better filly.”
Skerritt, who also teamed with Monday’s Wyong winner Fields Of Glory, lifted her career tally to 51 with her victory on Invincible Queen.