Hawkesbury trainer Brad Widdup had no hesitation holding We Have Lift Off on the launching pad by missing a home track engagement last Sunday. But she certainly took off on debut for the stable at Canterbury yesterday.
Having her first start in a year and only the second of her career, the $3 joint favorite had no trouble leading throughout in the 3YO Maiden Plate (1100m).
With Widdup’s brother-in-law Christian Reith aboard, We Have Lift Off bounded clear at the start and was too nippy for Melbourne visitor Zoology ($4.40) and the other co-favorite League of Nations.
It has been a long wait for Dynamic Syndications’ group of owners who race the Exceed And Excel filly - but it was worth it yesterday as the 2016 Magic Millions purchase made an impressive return to racing.
We Have Lift Off kicked off her career when fourth (after leading) to Champ Elect in the Listed Calaway Gal (1110m) at Doomben on December 17 last year.
“I was delighted when Adam (Watt) from Dynamic rang me about giving me this filly to train,” Widdup said.
Widdup gave We Have Lift Off – whose dam Houston Benefactor, an Encosta De Lago mare, was placed in the Listed Keith Mackay Quality (1200m) at the 2011 Randwick autumn carnival – two trials in preparation for her resumption. She was runner-up in both; at Warwick Farm over 803m on November 21 and 845m at Wyong on December 4.
In spite of her all-the-way success, Widdup didn’t readily commit her to a return trip to Queensland for next month’s Magic Millions carnival at the Gold Coast.
Reith paid tribute to Widdup and his Hawkesbury staff by getting We Have Lift Off ready for a winning return and said the filly was open to more improvement.
We Have Lift Off was the 27th winner of Widdup’s fledgling career; having saddled his first runner Junglized, who gave him a flying start by scoring on Canberra’s ACTON track in late May.
Widdup prepared five winners in the last couple of months of the 2016-17 season, and so far this season has trained 22 winners along with 23 placegetters from 80 starters.