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  • Provincial Racing NSW


Brad Widdup has been given a “green light” by owner Max Whitby to chase a hat-trick with yesterday’s Rosehill Gardens winner Travelling Kate. But finding the right race to try to achieve that is a nice problem Hawkesbury’s leading trainer has to solve.

The former New Zealand mare clinched her first Saturday win in town with a gutsy performance to hit the front and then stave off $2.05 favorite Wineglass Bay in the Benchmark 78 Handicap (1800m), following on from a midweek Benchmark 72 Handicap (1900m) success at Canterbury on July 26. The Savabeel six-year-old, who was a well-supported $5.50 chance yesterday, was one of her rider Tyler Schiller’s three winners to celebrate his entry into the senior ranks. “Max says there is no rush to retire Travelling Kate to stud,” Widdup said today. “I’m pleased about that as the mare is in career best form.

“I haven’t deliberately done anything different with Travelling Kate in regard to her training, but she has been a very consistent mare for us and is racing with more confidence. “She has dug deep to win her last two races.”

Consistency is indeed the keynote as from Travelling Kate’s last 21 runs for Widdup, she has won four races, been placed on nine occasions and never finished further back fifth.

Widdup also put blinkers back on the mare in June to begin a new preparation – and she has really responded.“The trick now is to find the next suitable race to give her the chance to attempt a hat-trick,” Widdup said.

“There is a Benchmark 78 Handicap at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday week over 2000m, and the Wyong Cup (2100m) on September 1, but I don’t really want to go to 2000m yet.

“I will have to look more closely at the programs.” Having toppled a hotpot at Rosehill, Widdup nearly repeated the feat at the corresponding Kembla Grange meeting.

His lightly-raced four-year-old Jedibeel ($6), also by Savabeel, went within a whisker or two of downing unbeaten mare Dancing Alone ($1.22) in the Benchmark 64 Handicap (1000m).

“Jedibeel is a stallion, has had only the four starts and is still learning,” Widdup said.

“I thought he would come from behind the favorite, but she lost ground at the start and he settled in front of her and was wide from the 600m without cover.

“Jedibeel is a work in progress, and I’m sure yesterday’s first-up run will bring him on.

“He was narrowly beaten last preparation at Newcastle by Karedada, who won three in a row at the time, and now Dancing Alone, who has won all her four starts.” Fellow Hawkesbury trainer Edward Cummings also joined the winner’s circle at Rosehill as he readies his classy mare Duais for a resumption at Royal Randwick on Saturday. Cummings landed the Midway Benchmark 72 Handicap (1500m) with $4.20 favorite Strait Acer, ridden by Jason Collett.

The Headwater four-year-old has now won two of his three starts this campaign, and three from eight career runs.

A $25,000 Inglis Ready2Race sale purchase as an early two-year-old in 2021, his earnings have now risen to just over $138,000. Cummings’ triple Group 1 winner Duais, who raced well at two starts in Brisbane during the winter carnival, is scheduled to kick off another preparation in the first Group 1 of the season, the $1m wfa Winx Stakes (1400m). Whilst Widdup and Cummings were successful at Rosehill, Kembla Grange’s Kerry Parker, Newcastle’s Nathan Doyle and Wyong’s Damien Lane weren’t left out in the cold either at the weekend. Parker scored at his home meeting yesterday with Serafima ($8.50), who broke through at her 16th start after five placings, and Doyle made it two wins from three starts with promising filly Wooloowin ($2.10 favorite) at the same meeting.

Lane went bush today to score at Dubbo with $7 chance All Too Sneaky, ridden by his talented apprentice Anna Roper. Sixteen horses (including five from provincial stables) have been nominated for Thursday’s $200,000 Listed Pioneer Services Rowley Mile at Hawkesbury; the first provincial Showcase meeting of the new season.

The provincial entries are Jason Attard and Lucy Keegan-Attard’s Ruby Flyer and Luvoir, Blake Ryan’s Momack, Kris Lees’ Protagonist, and Sara Ryan’s Parry Sound.

Article by John Curtis, August 13th 2023.

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