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  • Provincial Racing NSW


IN better circumstances, Thursday’s barnstorming Hawkesbury winner Be Real would have been lining up in Saturday week’s Queensland Oaks (2200m) at Eagle Farm.

Unfortunately, the promising three-year-old wasn’t showing enough to warrant an entry for the fillies’ Group 1 classic when they closed on May 7.

The New Zealand-bred daughter of Iffraaj broke through at Newcastle two days later and, with a fast-finishing midweek Warwick Farm placing sandwiched in between on May 22, was back in winning fettle at home.

With Tyler Schiller aboard, Be Real ($3.30) came from last on the home turn with a sustained burst on the outside of the track in the straight to take the Pinnacle Office Supplies Class 1/Maiden Plate (1800m), upsetting heavily supported $2.25 favorite Gulf Of Mexico.

“It’s a shame missing the Oaks, but we ran out of options,” Be Real’s leading Hawkesbury trainer Brad Widdup said on Thursday evening.

“She just wasn’t going well enough at the time entries closed.

“She has since come to life, and who knows what she might develop into to next season.

“Provided she pulls up well, it would be nice to get a city win with her before she goes for a break.”

It was indeed a “good day at the office” for Widdup, who won with his only two starters; another lightly-raced three-year-old filly She’s All It (Alysha Collett) scoring in the Pitt Town Bottleshop Provincial Maiden Handicap (1100m).

The double took his season’s tally to 54, and the number of winners prepared by the Hawkesbury training base to 157.

Be Real was bred by Widdup’s close friend, New Zealander Mark Fraser-Campin, and the trainer’s wife Milissa manages a syndicate which acknowledges the growing involvement in the industry of two of the families’ sons, Hunter Widdup and Max Fraser-Campin, who are not yet old enough to race horses in their own names.

“I had plenty of work to do at the stables, but all the family was at the track, and it was a great result,” Widdup said.

“The same with our earlier winner She’s All It, who is raced by Daniel Scicluna.

“It was good to see her put it all together, and break through at only her fifth start after three minor placings.”

She’s All It has already proven a “cheapie”, the $21,000 first prize well and truly recouping the $12,500 Scicluna paid for the daughter of Starsplangledbanner and unraced Artie Schiller mare Buroog as a yearling in 2022.

Widdup has two excellent chances at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday as he seeks to continue the stable’s excellent season.

He runs recent Scone carnival placegetters Left Field (Benchmark 72 Handicap, 1100m) and Jedibeel (Benchmark 78 Handicap, 1200m).

Kerrin McEvoy, back from an injury enforced layoff with a Hawkesbury success on $2.40 favorite Mickey’s Medal, rides Left Field and Alysha Collett has the mount on Jedibeel.


Kembla Grange trainer Ross McConville was the other provincial winner at Hawkesbury, claiming his 16th winner of the season when the promising South Of India resumed in great style.

Ridden by Kembla apprentice Angus Villiers, the Churchill three-year-old made it three wins in a row in the Midway Benchmark 64 Handicap (1000m) at his first start since scoring at Wyong in late January.

In an all-provincial finish, South Of India ($4) defeated Gosford trainer Adam Duggan’s Restrictions ($13) and Newcastle trainer Jason Deamer’s Drums Of War ($16).

South Of India has raced only four times, and is a son of four-times winner Minnesota, who was prepared by the iconic late Kembla Grange trainer Gwenda Markwell.

Story John Curtis, May 30, 2024 - Pics Bradley Photos

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