The inaugural running of The Invitation has been won by Brad Widdup’s mare Icebath, who won by 1.4 lengths over Rocha Clock and Forbidden Love in Saturday’s $2 million feature at Randwick.
The daughter of Sacred Falls started as the $6 second favourite behind New Zealand-trained mare Entriviere, but she quickly put the field to bed at the furlong.
Having drawn barrier 12 of 12, Kerrin McEvoy was forced to go back to last early, which made the mare’s win even more dominant as she looped the entire field.
“Sometimes the barriers just force your hand,” McEvoy told Channel 7.
“She’s been having no luck and today was a case of just getting the first half right, get her into the clear and let her rip home.
“She’s been finishing really well without much luck.
“She’s a quality winner of that race, she’s done a great job and I’m sure that Brad, the team and the owners get a huge thrill out of that.
“There was a couple of times where I didn’t give her the best of spins early in her prep, but they stuck with me today and I’m glad to be able to get the win for them.”
A deserved big race win for Icebath as the @BWiddupRacing mare sweeps down the outside to win the $2m #TheInvitation at Randwick over Rocha Clock and Forbidden Love. @tabcomau pic.twitter.com/LlKmg9vGKr
— Racing NSW (@racing_nsw) October 23, 2021
Icebath has now won over $3.3 million in prizemoney, despite Group 1 success still eluding her.
The mare’s trainer described her win as a bit of a relief, given just how unlucky she had been throughout her career.
“He (McEvoy) got going at the half-mile there and put her into the race and that’s all we’ve been dying to see,” Widdup told SEN Track.
“It’s fantastic to finally get her to win a big race.
“Obviously she’s been so well performed – I know it’s not black-type, but a $2 million race and a class field, it’s a good mare’s race and it was great to see.”
Although Widdup is yet to confirm where his stable star will race next, he says he will “seriously” consider the Group 1 Empire Rose Stakes (1600m) at Flemington this coming Saturday; otherwise, a potential shot at the Group 2 Matriarch Stakes (2000m) the following Saturday could be an option.
“I’d love to get her down to Melbourne,” he said.
“I’ll seriously look at next weekend, if not, I might even have a crack at the Matriarch.
“There’s Sandown as well, but they’ve got a million-dollar race back here – The Gong – there’s so many options, but I’d love to get her down to Melbourne ‘cause there are a couple of owners in Melbourne, I think the trip away would do a world of good, so I’d love to get down there – it’s a great carnival.”
Icebath is a $15 chance with online bookmakers in the Empire Rose Stakes.