By Ray Hickson
Golden Eagle runner-up Icebath has already been a great advertisement for Hawkesbury trainer Brad Widdup and, after the mare earned over $1.6m in the spring, he’s setting his sights on adding a stakes win to her record.
In an ideal world that stakes win would be a Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) next month at Rosehill but, if rain happens to arrive, Widdup wouldn’t be shocked if Icebath gave Saturday’s Group 3 $160,000 Robrick Lodge Triscay Stakes (1200m) at Randwick a little nudge.
Icebath is also nominated for the Group 1 Star Doncaster Mile, the Group 1 Coolmore Legacy and Group 1 Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes over the two days of The Star Championships.
“It’s all about chasing a bit of black type with her,’’ Widdup said.
“She hasn’t won a black type race and she’s a 104 rater so there aren’t any easy options.
“I think the Coolmore is a good race for her and if rain comes in any of these races she’s going to come right into it.”
The four-year-old has had a different build up for the autumn with two official trials compared to her spring where she had just one plus a race day exhibition gallop.
She chased home the flying Written Beauty in her second trial and Widdup was pleased to see the winner score at Randwick last weekend.
“She’s had a pretty faultless prep, 1200m might be a bit short for her first-up but you’ve got to kick them off somewhere,’’ he said.
“I think the tracks aren’t your traditional February tracks, they’re not rock hard, so she should get a track she likes.
“She’s had two nice trials, it’s something I haven’t been able to afford to do with her in the past.”
Widdup has retained leading apprentice Tom Sherry who rode Icebath to a win at Randwick that secured her spot in the $7.5m Golden Eagle then to that close call behind Colette in the rich Rosehill feature on October 31 where she earned her high rating.
With Kerrin McEvoy, Icebath's pilot in both trials, booked for race favourite Tailleur the owners opted to give Sherry the chance in a Group race.
“He’s had two rides on her and rode her terrific both times and he knows her,’’ he said.
“I don’t know after Saturday but at the moment Tom stays on the horse.
“It was amazing to be running in a race worth so much money and for her to run so well was fantastic but she has to go on with it now.
“Once we get out to that 1500m to a mile range it will suit her.”
Icebath was $7.50 with TAB on Thursday behind Tailleur who dominates the market at $1.75.
Icebath runs third in a trial at Warwick Farm on Fabruary 2
Godolphin trainer James Cummings said Tailleur has earned the rise to stakes company with five wins from seven starts including a runaway victory at Rosehill second-up on January 16.
In fairness, the mare was afforded a perfect sit behind a fast pace in that 1100m race but she carried 58kg that day and has proven to be very adaptable to date.
“She’s been nothing but impressive coming through the handicaps,” he said.
“Now at start number eight it’s a case of ‘welcome to Group racing’.
“There’ll be a bit more pressure here, but she’s delivered on all her promises so far.”