By Frances O'Shea
Brad Widdup heads to Wyong on Sunday full of confidence that his in-form mare Invictum Domina can bring up her third successive win in the $50,000 Sky Racing Spring Provincial Series.
Wyong hosts the first heat of the $400,000 series, a joint concept introduced by Racing NSW and the five provincial race clubs Wyong, Hawkesbury, Newcastle, Kembla Grange and Gosford.
Five $50,000 qualifying races are being run across the NSW provincial clubs over the next six weeks, culminating in the $150,000 final over 1600m at Kembla on December 1.
The first heat, over 1350m, has attracted a strong field of 12 runners with four of the five provincial clubs represented.
The Widdup trained Invictum Domina should hold favouritism, having put together back to back wins at Warwick Farm and Kensington.
Invictum Domina leads all the way to win at Randwick on October 1
The I Am Invincible mare, raced by Darby Syndications, transferred to Widdup from the Hayes/Dabernig stable in April and will be having her fourth start for her new trainer.
“I was quite happy to get her. She’s a lovely horse, a big strong thing,” he said.
“I trialled her at Gosford and she trialled enormous. I thought she’d win first up but she was slow away and finished fourth, but I thought she could have won.
“Second up it was a pretty solid field and I couldn’t believe the odds she was. She came out and won and she’s won again since. I think now they will be starting to take a bit of notice.”
Widdup said two of the horses the mare had beaten in her last win had posted subsequent victories, giving him more confidence about her ability.
“This looks like a nice race, she’s well weighted and obviously she’s in good form at the moment. There is winning form around her with both Savacool and Vinnie Power, who she beat at Kensington, having come out and won since,'' he said.
“I’m really happy with her work, she’s in great form and it’s a good race for her. The distance is about the limit for her. She’s drawn nine but has good gate speed so I’m not too worried about that.
“Her normal pattern is that she races well going forward, so the wide barrier won’t really be a worry.”
Widdup also praised the new race series.
“It’s a good concept. We are seeing a lot of new things come along like this and trainers really take to them,'' he said.
"It’s a great thing for the provincial trainers and we need to support them so there will be more things like it.
“We have to travel horses long distances these days to get the right races, so it is nice to have a good race series at the back door.”