Trainer Brad Widdup is weighing up whether his Magic Millions 2YO Classic contender Witherspoon races in Brisbane or New South Wales this weekend. The Exceed And Excel (Danehill) filly, who won her first barrier trial at Canterbury in September, endured a wide run when eighth of 16 in the Gimcrack Stakes (Listed, 1000m) at Randwick at her only start. Hawkesbury-based Widdup has nominated Witherspoon for the Calaway Gal Stakes (Listed, 1110m) at Doomben and a two-year-old maiden handicap (1000m) at Kembla Grange on Saturday.
“I will give her a bit of a gallop (this morning) and we will see how she goes and we will decide from there,” Widdup told ANZ Bloodstock News.“The barrier draws and things like that will also determine where she goes. I won’t be sending her up (to Brisbane) if she draws the outside gate or anything like that. “I will know more (today) and come acceptance time where we will go with her.”
A $500,000 purchase by Jadeskye Racing from the Segenhoe Stud Australia draft at the 2017 Magic MIllions Gold Coast Yearling Sale, Witherspoon is being aimed at the $2,000,000 feature race at the Gold Coast on 13 January. She ran the fastest time of the 12 heats at the Canterbury official two-year-old barrier trials over 900 metres in 53.25 seconds on 18 September before drawing the outside barrier (16) when caught wide throughout to be beaten three and a half lengths by Satin Slipper (Pierro).
“It was a huge run in the Gimcrack and it was disappointing that she drew wide but she was ready to race and I thought it would be a good experience to send her around,” Widdup said.
“At that time of year it is hard to hold them up and wait for another race. We rolled the dice and it didn’t pay of, but I thought her run had merit.”
Since the Gimcrack Stakes, Witherspoon was given a short break before running third in a Wyong barrier trial over 845 metres on 4 December, a heat won by the Allan Denham-trained Lilith (Hinchinbrook) with the Peter and Paul Snowden-trained Bondi (Snitzel) fnishing second.
Bondi, who is also being aimed at the Magic Millions 2YO Classic, also won a Canterbury barrier trial on the same day as Witherspoon and was runner-up in the Breeders’ Plate (Listed, 1000m) at Randwick on 30 September.
Christian Reith rode Witherspoon in the Wyong barrier trial, but Corey Brown will partner the flly if she races in Brisbane or Mitchell Bell will take the reins if she runs at Kembla Grange.
“She is not a big flly, but she is fairly straight forward, so she doesn’t take a lot of work to get back to where she was and she had a nice little trial at Wyong last week and has come through it well,” he said.
“Bondi is well in the market for the Magic Millions and Allan Denham’s horse must have a little bit of ability, for sure, and I don’t go out to bust them in trials. It is more about seeing where they are at, so I was more than happy with the trial.
”The Calaway Gal Stakes yesterday received 23 nominations including the unbeaten Singular Sensation (Not A Single Doubt), who has won her two starts so far for trainer Steven O’Dea, and the Tony McEvoy-trained Maribyrnong Trial (Listed, 1000m) placegetter Sunlight (Zoustar).
The Chris Munce-trained Pony Power (Foxwedge), who won her only start at the Gold Coast on 7 October, is slated to resume in the Listed race, while Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott have nominated the Randwick barrier trial winner The Art Of The Bar (Charge Forward).
“If the field looks too hard and she draws badly in Brisbane then I won’t be going. It is not her grand final yet and I have to place her to advantage to try and get prize money to ensure she gets into the Magic Millions,” he said. “I don’t want to waste a run with her.”
Widdup has ruled out running the half-sister to Ken Russell Memorial Classic (Gr 3, 1200m) winner Taking Aim (Choisir)in the Wyong Magic Millions 2YO Classic (RL, 1000m) on 21 December as an option for the flly, preferring to run her on Saturday leaving four weeks to the Gold Coast carnival.
“I don’t really want to go to Wyong because if you miss the prize money there it puts you behind. This way she runs on Saturday and has a fortnight to her next run and then another fortnight into the Magic Millions,” he said.
“If she can get the right prize money this week you are not as pressured as where to run her next start and she is not a big filly anyway, so I might only give her the one run into the Magic Millions.”Widdup plans to have at least two stablemates accompanying Witherspoon to the Gold Coast, with Suspenders (Snitzel) targeting the $1,000,000 Magic Millions Fillies and Mares Stakes (RL, 1300m) and Junglized (Snitzel) aiming for the $250,000 Magic Millions Country Cup (1200m).
News and Photograph: ANZ Bloodstock News