Widdup rues luckless campaign as Icebath heads to the paddock

Brad Widdup’s talented mare who is currently spelling, Icebath. (Photo: Grant Guy)

Hawkesbury trainer Brad Widdup has trained three winners over the past week-and-a-half, continuing his consistent form in the NSW premiership season.

But there is still a lingering disappointment about the tough luck his star mare Icebath has received recently, ahead of Saturday’s meeting at Randwick.

That could change when Surreal Step (jockey William Pike) lines up in a $130,000 Benchmark 94 Handicap (1100m) – a five-year-old new to his stable and first-up from a four-month spell.

Widdup – with 41 winners this season – oversaw talented fellow five-year-old Icebath’s third place in the Group 3 $160,000 JRA Plate (2000m) at Randwick on April 16.

Despite being the $3.20 favourite with horse betting sites, the going was always going to be tough after drawing barrier four in the eight-horse race.

That was after her third place in the Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m), drawing barrier 11 for the $1 million feature on April 9.

And it was after a horror run of Widdup’s star mare often drawing tough barriers, including the nine lane for the Doncaster Mile and All Star Mile, finishing third and ninth respectively.

“I think we’ve gone a bit past that (thinking ‘what if’) now. It’s unfortunate – she’s a terrific mare,” Widdop told horsebetting.com.au.

“I’m sure one day we’ll get things to line up for her.

“Queen Of The Turf was excellent. It was a big run from her.

“(Last Saturday at Randwick) was her third run in a row, which was a bit unorthodox.

“It was very slow and it made it very hard for her.”

Widdup said he was content with Surreal Step – with a fourth in his last start over 1200m at Randwick on December 11 – heading into today.

“Surreal Step is having his first run for me. He’s a bit unknown. He seems to be going OK,” he said of the former Michael, Wayne and John Hawkes sprinter.

2022 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) – Nimalee (Icebath 3rd)

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