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June 12, 2021

Adelong’s true grit gives Widdup his just rewardsBrad Widdup got a well-deserved with with Adelong at Randwick. Picture: Getty Images

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Adelong and her trainer Brad Widdup have been through some tough times. They deserved this stakes win.

There was a period when Adelong seemed to lose her way on the racetrack but as the saying goes: “Form is temporary, class is ­permanent.”

As Adelong scored the biggest win of her career in the Listed $150,000 Bob Charley AO Stakes (1200) at Royal Randwick, this was also a reward for the persistence of her trainer.

Widdup has had to deal with some heartbreaking near-misses when stable star Icebath finished close seconds in the Golden Eagle and Doncaster Mile this season while trying to identify what went wrong with Adelong during her spring campaign.

The trainer backed his judgment and the result was a career-best win by Adelong in the Bob Charley Stakes.

Of course, Adelong’s win doesn’t compensate for Icebath’s narrow big race losses but clearly the mare’s breakthrough stakes success meant a lot to the trainer.

“It was great to see Adelong get that black type win as she has been such a good mare for us,’’ Widdup said.

“She has been very honest from day one and has been a great mare to train.

“I think we just went a bit too far with her in the winter last year and then tried to go to the spring. It was just too hard. But I have been very happy with her all preparation and it is great to see her win.

“She has got back into the right groove and when she is in this sort of form she will always give you that bit more under pressure.’’

Adelong ($5.50) had to find that “bit more” to hold off the late surge of Wandabaa ($5) to win the ­feature winter sprint by a neck with Viridine ($9) running on for third, one-and-a-quarter lengths further back.

Favourite Fituese ($4.40) tried hard but seemed to have her chance before eventually finishing a close fifth.

Widdup was effusive in his praise for experienced jockey Jay Ford after the race.

“Jay has absolutely nailed his last two rides on this mare, they have been perfect,’’ Widdup said.

Ford, who is always linked with former champion sprinter Takeover Target, revealed that Adelong needs to be ridden in a “very ­particular way”.

“You have got to let her be early in a race,’’ Ford said.

“We were able to let the race unfold exactly like the other day. I had no qualms leading but she needs to be left alone whether she is leading or taking the sit.

“I felt early in the race that Ballistic Lover and Adelong had control up front and that enabled my mare to give a strong kick and she was good enough to hold on.’’

Ford said Adelong’s first stakes success won’t be her last win at ­ ­racing’s elite level.

Classique Legend won the Bob Charley Stakes then returned in spring to win The TAB Everest last year so what does the future hold for Adelong?

Widdup wasn’t about to make any Everest predictions but the trainer has learned the lessons of last year.

“We will freshen Adelong up now and bring her back for spring,’’ Widdup said.

“If we plan it right there is something for her later in the year.’’

Widdup also revealed Icebath is back in work and the trainer has every reason to aim high with the talented mare.

“Icebath has been back in two and a half weeks and is going really well,’’ Widdup said.

“She has had a good break and her main target will be the Epsom Handicap.’’

Jones: ‘This is a day I will never forget’

There was no stopping boom apprentice Reece Jones as he completed a career-best day in the saddle with four winners at Royal Randwick on Saturday.

Jones had never ridden more one winner at a city meeting before — and he had not ridden a four-timer on any track — but he completed his quartet of wins on New Arrangement in the ACY Securities Handicap (1300m).

New Arrangement’s win came after Jones had earlier guided Casino Kid, Gravina and Opacity to wins at the Randwick meeting.

Jones, 25, said he started the day realising he had a competitive book of rides, but was hoping to ride just one winner on the Randwick program, and got the ball rolling with Casino Kid in the TAB Highway.

“Then I had two winners with Gravina which was okay, three with Opacity was really good and now four which is fantastic,’’ Jones said after his success with New Arrangement.

“I have never ridden four winners before, so to do it here (at Randwick) is massive for me.

“When you are growing up and starting out, you always dream of being here one day.

“To actually be able to do that (four winners), is a huge thrill.

“This is a day I will never forget.’’

Jones wasn’t the only apprentice jockey to have a memorable afternoon, with Jacob Opperman riding five winners at Morphettville.

For good measure, jockey Alysha Collett had a day out at Newcastle with five wins.

New Arrangement’s win managed to snap a frustrating sequence of second placings at the Randwick meet for premier trainer Chris Waller, after his gallopers Hulk, Steel Diamond, Zing and Order Again all found one better.

But it was still a significant day for Waller as Skagerak’s win at the Gold Coast meeting gave the Hall of Fame trainer his 300th winner on all tracks this season.

Waller is a clear leader in the Sydney, NSW and Australian trainer premierships and added to his season’s tally of wins when New Arrangement ($9) edged out Grand Piano ($8.50) in a thrilling finish, with True Detective ($6) a length and a half away third.


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