By Ray Hickson
Trainer Brad Widdup says he’s done his best to ensure promising mare Adelong is ready for her return at Canterbury on Wednesday despite a less than textbook preparation.
Like many trainers, Widdup has had to make changes to how the path to the races looks for his horses due to the coronavirus restrictions and he said they've had an impact on Adelong.
But he believes, despite drawing wide, the TAB Handicap (1100m) is a suitable race for the four-year-old’s first-up assignment and, while he’s had to do some improvising, fitness won’t be an excuse.
“Ideally I would have liked to get another trial with her but with everything going on we’re restricted to only trialling her at Hawkesbury so I’ve tried to get her as fit as I can,’’ he said.
“You’ve got to be a bit adaptive. We are very lucky to be racing so you’ve just got to do your best.”
Adelong took some big steps in her initial preparation through the summer winning her first three starts then she underlined her ability in a brave defeat to Lashes on January 4.
Adelong wins a trial at Hawkesbury on April 6
On that occasion Punter’s Intelligence sectional data showed Adelong was softened up in the lead in the 1100m event, running her first 500m in a blistering 28.26 which included 10.15 between the 1000m and 800m, so to hold on to second was a big effort.
Widdup said that performance confirmed she's an above average talent and when she returned to the stable the Queensland carnival was on the radar but plenty has changed in the world since then.
So for the moment he’s more concerned about short term goals - though there are stakes races next month that could become targets.
“I don’t have any lofty ambitions with her yet,’’ he said.
“I’d like to see her come back and race as well as she did last time and if she does that I’ll be happy.
“There was good speed (last start) and she was run down by a horse that was suited. But if you can get a horse to win three out of four I’ll take that any day of the week.”
Adelong has had one trial, a win over 1000m at Hawkesbury two weeks ago, leading into Wednesday’s race, where she’s $2.30 favourite with TAB, and Widdup hopes jockey James McDonald can use her natural speed to offset an outside alley.
“It’s never ideal drawing out there but she has good speed and I’m happy with her,’’ he said.
“She’s got to come to the fore this time in and I’d like to see her be a bit smarter in her races.
“She only had a short let up and I think they ran pretty good time in that trial, you don’t want them to go much quicker.”