By Ray Hickson
When it comes to bringing a promising mare through the grades trainer Brad Widdup has a strong track record and he’s hoping the lightly raced Calgary Queen can take another step forward at Kensington on Wednesday.
At this stage it’s unfair to say she’s following in the footsteps of stablemates Adelong and Icebath, who have graduated to stakes company and in the latter’s case a narrow Group 1 defeat, but the four-year-old is showing Widdup signs that the best is still ahead.
Calgary Queen took her record to three wins from seven starts when she scored first-up on a heavy track at Kensington three weeks ago and will be fitter for what the Hawkesbury trainer concedes will be a tougher ask in the TAB Handicap (1300m).
“Her win was off one trial and a jump out, I normally give them two trials, so she was definitely vulnerable,’’ he said.
“She probably got a track playing to her favour and a good ride from James (McDonald).
“She’s drawn well, it’s a good field but this time of year you’ve got to expect it. I’m not getting carried away but I’d be disappointed if she doesn’t run very well.
“She’s a Saturday (class) filly every day of the week.”
Calgary Queen wins at Kensington on August 25
Jason Collett rides Calgary Queen, $4.60 with TAB on Tuesday, this time around and she rises 2kg on her first-up win.
Widdup said the fact he threw the mare into the Hawkesbury Guineas earlier this year is a pointer to what he thinks of her ability and while she was unplaced in that Group 3 race it wasn’t a failure.
“Normally I don’t do those things unless I think they’re good enough,’’ he said.
“I really like her. I thought her run in the Hawkesbury Guineas, before I tipped her out, a lot of people missed it.
“She went for a gap and it shut, her effort was terrific and her win the other day was great. I think she’s ging to be a nice mare for sure.”
Meanwhile, Adelong will face her biggest test at Randwick on Saturday when she faces up to six confirmed TAB Everest runners in the Group 2 $500,000 The Shorts (1100m).
She resumed with a solid performance to run fifth, after sitting outside Nature Strip, in the Concorde Stakes and Widdup said she’ll be fitter for what is obviously a daunting task.
“I reckon the form guys would nearly have that (Concorde run) down as one of her peak performances,’’ he said.
And Golden Eagle and Doncaster Mile runner-up Icebath has pulled up well from her close up fifth in the Theo Marks Stakes (1300m) last weekend and will get another shot at a Group win on Saturday week.
The five-year-old was beaten 1.9 lengths by Chat in the Group 2 sprint.
“It was a good run, you’d love to see her pick up one of these races,’’ Widdup said.
“Third-up into the Golden Pendant (1400m), she drops in weight and she gets her chance there.”