By Ray Hickson
Trainer Brad Widdup says the most exciting thing about emerging mare Adelong’s breakthrough late autumn/early winter campaign was her ability to transform into a complete racehorse.
It wasn’t so much the fact she won three straight in May and June, taking her record to six wins and two seconds from eight starts, it was how she won them that told the Hawkesbury trainer she’s ready to chase spring black type.
Adelong was a one dimensional front runner in her first preparation but developed tactical nous in her second and that stands her in good stead for the Group 3 $160,000 Bowermans Commercial Furniture Toy Show (1100m).
“She learned a lot, and that was what I really liked,’’ Widdup said.
“She turned the corner in her attitude and the better horses do everything right so she is definitely going that way now.
“You’re always dreaming they can go to the next level, she’s done a great job so far and I’m sure there’s black type for her somewhere there.
“I think we’ve found a race where she should be more than competitive.’’
Widdup said Adelong put on 17kg in her short break following her easy win over Inanup, who won his next two starts and will contest Saturday’s Show County, at Rosehill on June 13.
She had a spin under Saturday's jockey Tim Clark, who rides at 53.5kg, in a 1080m trial on the Randwick polytrack earlier this month and was held right back to them as it was the original plan to contest a shorter trial.
Her growing reputation means she’s the $2.20 favourite with TAB for her toughest test to date and while Widdup goes to the track confident, aided by the absence of speedster Witherspoon, he still has plenty of respect for the opposition.
“It is a jump for sure, you’re kidding yourself if you don’t think that, there’s no easy black type racing and she has to go to another level now,’’ he said.
“She showed enough to be aimed at these sort of races. I’m more than happy with her, she looks great.
“I’m hoping we can begin well and roll forward and get into a prominent spot.’’
If Adelong can make it seven from nine it would set up a superb clash with Group 1 placed mare Fasika in the Group 2 Sheraco Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill on September 12.
Melbourne had been considered for Adelong, Widdup is keen to test her down the straight, but at this stage the scenario with sending a horse south is difficult and he will wait to see how things unfold in her first two runs.
Stablemate Icebath comes out of stakes company for her first run back in the Cactus Imaging Sprint (1200m) and Widdup clearly has a touch of excitement about her.
Adelong wins at Rosehill on June 13
The four-year-old hasn’t raced since finishing third behind Dawn Passage in the Hawkesbury Guineas on Anzac Day and Widdup said her luckless autumn has set her up well to kick off in a benchmark race.
“She’s a mare that I’m lucky to be racing in this sort of benchmark, I think it should be a lot higher,’’ he said.
“It’s going to play in her favour because I think we are in for a good spring with her.
“She’s been unlucky, you only have to watch her last three runs. She ran terrific in the Keith Nolan, she should have nearly won the South Pacific (second to Indy Car) and her run behind Dawn Passage was unbelievable as well.”
Icebath was pressing for favouritism at $5 with TAB on Thursday.