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BRAD Widdup is hoping a breakthrough with a lightly-raced three-year-old at Canterbury on Wednesday leads to another at his $1.8m major home track meeting on Saturday.

The leading Hawkesbury trainer clinched his 49th winner of the season when Physicist ($6) landed the $100,000 Maiden Handicap (1550m) at only his second start, and would dearly like to add his name to the honour roll at Hawkesbury’s annual metropolitan stand-alone fixture.

Widdup has had only a handful of runners since his first Lovani ran fifth in the 2018 Group 3 Richmond Club Hawkesbury Gold Cup (1600m), and is yet to win a race.

He has had five placings; three of them thirds (Icebath in the 2020 Group 3 Blacktown Workers Club Group Hawkesbury Guineas, 1400m, and Adelong and Surreal Step in the 2021 and 2022 Listed Hawkesbury XXXX Gold Rush, 1100m) in black type events.

Weather dependent, Widdup could have a representative in each of the four Saturday features.

He has second emergency Fire Lane (needing one more withdrawal) in the Gold Rush, Short Shorts in the Group 3 Pioneer Services Hawkesbury Crown (1300m), Hasty Honey (Jay Ford) in the Guineas, and first and sixth emergencies Ausbred Flirt (Alysha Collett) and Ruby Flyer in the Gold Cup.

“It’s always hard to win a race at this meeting because there is so much competition, and Saturday will be no different,” Widdup said.

“But certainly it would be a terrific boost for our stable to be successful at our biggest day of the year at home.”

Widdup also accepted with Fire Lane in the Benchmark 78 Handicap (1100m), and has booked his apprentice Zac Wadick, in case she does not secure a berth in the Gold Rush line-up.

“I have decided to put blinkers back on her in whichever race she contests, and she is in good order,” he said.

“We’re waiting to settle on a rider for Short Shorts, and I’m hoping we don’t get any rain.

“She is at her best on good ground, and you have to overlook her defeat in the Provincial-Midway Championships Final at Royal Randwick on April 13 when she didn’t begin well and then was on the inferior inside section of the track in the straight.

“Hasty Honey on the other hand doesn’t mind the wet.

“This won’t be an easy task but she ran well when third in the Group 3 James Carr Stakes (1400m) at Randwick last time, and has drawn well.

“Like Short Shorts, we don’ want rain either for Ausbred Flirt in the Cup.

“She has drawn awkwardly, but wasn’t far away when sixth in the Provincial-Midway Final and has pleased me since.

“Ruby Flyer will definitely run if he gets a start.

“He was excellent with a big weight when just beaten at Rosehill last Saturday, and backing up a week later would suit him.

“Of course he is a good wet tracker should there be plenty of rain and there are enough scratchings to get him into the field.”

On Physicist, Widdup was delighted to get the gelding into the winning list in town so early in his career, especially as it hasn’t always been plain sailing with him.

“He was one of the horses which came to me when Mark Newnham relocated to Hong Kong, but unfortunately got hurt in a paddock earlier in the season,” he explained.

“He was gelded and had a good spell before coming into work.

“Physicist ran well on debut when third at Wyong over 1350m, and followed that up by stepping to 1550m at Canterbury.

“The way he settled and finished off the race suggests he will get further.

“We’ll keep him going and look for another suitable race in the coming weeks.”

A son of So You Think, Physicist is the first foal of the Pierro mare Phylicia and fetched $140,000 when offered at the 2022 Magic Millions yearling sale at the Gold Coast.

“I like the stallion, and Physicist is a really nice horse,” Widdup said. “We’ll give him every opportunity to make the grade.”

Story John Curtis, May 2, 2024 - Pics Bradley Photos

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