The most interesting race at Warwick Farm is the first as the next batch of horses begin to carve out their careers and Brad Widdup has one of them.
Maurice’s Choice lines up in a 1200m plate race for two-year-olds and he’s a promising colt by the Japanese superstar Maurice.
“I’ve got three of them and they look like they’ll be suited to Australian racing,” Widdup said of Maurice’s progeny. “I think he’s going to be an after-Christmas horse but giving him a run now isn’t going to hurt him.”
The juvenile has only had one public trial where he showed off his style over 800m at Hawkesbury when running third of fourth in fairly comfortable fashion but Widdup has given him a good grounding ahead of his debut.
“He went to Canterbury last week and had a jump out as well so even though it doesn’t read that he’s had two trials he probably has,” Widdup said.
Trainer Brad Widdup has been patient with Maurice’s Choice. Picture: AAPSource:AAP
“Hughie Bowman rode him and he liked him. They ran along in the jumpout so he got a good hitout. He’s not a runner. He’ll probably take a little while to get into his groove but I think 1200m is right for him.”
Maurice’s Choice will be ridden out of barrier two by Kerrin McEvoy and Widdup is expecting him to be doing his best work late against his fellow debutants.
This type of race always throws up a few surprises but Widdup is confident he’s working with a good horses with wins ahead of him.
“He’s a big, strong fella and I really like him. It’s not like I’ve got him drilled down yet but he’s had the two trials and he’s good enough to race,” he said.
“I think most of the others will be like that. I had a quick look at the field and there’s one of Gai’s there (Converge) and it might be more forward than the rest of us.
“He may need the run. I think he’ll get out to a mile. He’s beautiful horse with a great attitude. He does everything right. He likely won’t be a short distance sprinter or a sprinter at all and if he can run a trip it will open up plenty of options next year over the autumn carnival and he’ll learn a lot from this educational run.
“If he wins I’ll be very happy because I know there’s so much more improvement in him, especially when we get him to 1400m and 1600m. I’ll be giving him every chance to be ready for those bigger races and there’s the Fernhill as well.”
Kerrin McEvoy will ride Maurice’s Choice on debut at Warwick Farm. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
Meanwhile, punters will get to see Widdup’s promising last-start winner Free State soon.
The Headwater three-year-old beat the in-form Pumbaa Rua at Gosford last start as a $1.50 favourite and he’s will now have to graduate to city racing.
“There’s a race for him on Thursday week on the Kensington track so we’ll look at that,” Widdup said. “I think he’s got a bit of upside. He’s still learning and probably needs blinkers but I think I’ll give him one more run before I do that.”
PUNTERS RALLY FOR STRAWB
Trainer Nathan Doyle turned up at Newcastle’s The Hunter meeting last month with high hopes, but it’s a day he’s been trying to forget.
That’s because his two top horses, Cafe Royal and Strawb, flopped to run 13th and 11th respectively.
On Wednesday at Warwick Farm, Strawb gets a chance to redeem herself in the fourth race.
She was ordered to trial by stewards after pulling up with slow post-race recovery first-up and then won a 920m trial that convinced Doyle she was back after a career-worst run.
“She’s better than that,” Doyle said. “She had a bit of muscle soreness and took a few days to get over it. It’s something that you don’t really know at the time what it takes out of them.
“She’s trialled up well and she’s been good in the gates since so we shouldn’t have an issue moving forward. You just put a line through it and not look back. That’s all you can do.”
Jean Van Overmeire will be in the hot seat on Strawb at Warwick Farm. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
It’s not only Doyle who has confidence that her last run was an abnormality. Punters are set to send the Fasten Rock five-year-old out as favourite.
She’s trying to win her fifth race at start nine, and comeback jockey Jean Van Overmeire has secured the top ride.
He will guide Strawb out of barrier six as she looks for her first win in town.
“She is very good, we know that. She’s better than a midweek class of horse and she just needs to show it now,” Doyle said.
And a win today will see her go on to a Saturday race at this time of the year.
“We’ll just get through this race first then we can look at bigger things. I’m pleased with her.
“She’s ticked every box since that last run, which was a little hiccup,” Doyle said. “She’s been working sensationally.”
Originally published asWarwick Farm preview: Widdup spoiled for Choice
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