Hawkesbury's leading trainer Brad Widdup is on a roll, and looking to keep the winning momentum going at Wyong on Wednesday. Widdup nominated three youngsters for the $200,000 Wyong Magic Millions 2YO Classic (1100m) and will run unraced pair Jailbreak and Islands.
Rubick colt Jailbreak beat I Am Invincible filly Islands in a four-horse 760m barrier trial at Hawkesbury on November 26.
“Obviously, it would be nice to get both two-year-olds into the $2m Magic Millions Classic (1200m) at the Gold Coast next month,” Widdup said this morning. “But they will have to earn sufficient prizemoney, and the Wyong race is a good starting point.”
Widdup’s third Wyong entry, More Than Ready colt Enraged, will be kept for either Canterbury on Friday night or Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Widdup’s Newcastle double last Saturday with lightly-raced pair Wonderbabe and Celosia lifted his new season tally to 19 (75 in his career), following on from his 51 winners in his first full season of training in 2017-18.
Their breakthrough victories made it five winners in 10 days for his Platinum Park training operation, which had scored with Ragazze (Wyong on November 29), Sizzled (Newcastle, December 2) and Swelt (Gosford, December 6).
Wonderbabe (Grant Buckley), having only her second start and her first this preparation, won the 3YO Maiden Plate (900m) and Celosia (Andrew Gibbons) took the Maiden Handicap (1400m) against her own sex: “It was a good result sending two horses to Newcastle and both winning,” Widdup said this morning.
Snitzel filly Wonderbabe was a 2017 Inglis Easter yearling sale purchase for Platinum Park’s owner Damion Flower, and I Am Invincible filly Celosia is raced by a syndicate headed by James Harron Bloodstock.
“It’s always great to win a race for Damion, and we have been very patient with this filly (Wonderbabe),” Widdup said. “She went to Newcastle with only one trial under her belt, and has pulled up well. The ability is there, and she is still maturing.
“Celosia is a recent addition to our stable and was our first winner for James Harron. I’ve got a number of horses in work for him, and it was good to get that win on the board.”
Widdup’s Newcastle double, along with Philippe and Tara Vigouroux’s success with Uncle Sugar in Saturday’s Christmas Cup at Wyong and a superb training performance by Jamie Thomsen at Nowra yesterday, boosted to 67 the number of winners prepared at Hawkesbury so far this season.
Resilient veteran Uncle Sugar (Greg Ryan) was headed in the straight at Gunnedah by $10 chance Clipaholic, but came back to land the Benchmark 66 Handicap (1600m) feature – and post the eighth win of his career. The former New Zealand gelding, now nine years of age, beat Raining On Sunday ($14) and Western Parade ($4.40).
Ryan also won last year’s Cowra Cup on Uncle Sugar, which is raced by a large syndicate including co-trainer Philippe Vigouroux and Hawkesbury Race Club chairman Ken Quigley. Uncle Sugar’s victory continued Team Vigouroux’s excellent start to the season, providing the husband and wife training partnership with its seventh winner.
Jamie Thomsen produced Duporth five-year-old Red Notice ($11) to win the Class 1 Handicap (1000m) at Nowra at his first start since late January. With Hawkesbury apprentice Brandon Griffiths aboard, Red Notice just edged out another Hawkesbury representative, Terry Croft’s Banter ($13).
Thomsen afterwards revealed Red Notice had become very ill earlier in the year and was close to being put down. The gelding carried the colours worn by 1982 Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap winner Grey Receiver (also a dual The Galaxy winner in 1981-82), prepared by Thomsen’s father Bob, who won 25 Group 1s before calling it quits in 2012.