Sydney trainer Brad Widdup is due for some luck with Icebath ahead of the $1 million Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on Saturday.
Once again, his five-year-old Icebath has drawn a tough barrier – this time 15 – for the feature mile race with Kerrin McEvoy aboard.
She is the second-favourite with online bookmakers at $5, behind Colette ($4 for James Cummings).
It is not like Widdup’s mare hasn’t performed under adversity from an outside lane before.
She won the $2 million The Invitation (1400m) from barrier 12 at Randwick on October 23 last year.
But the times she has been lucky enough to draw an inside route during her impressive 30-race career for four wins have been few and far between.
“She’s drawn back to her normal barrier – back to the outside gates,” Widdup told racingonline.com.
“That does make it a bit tricky. This is what a lot of people forget.
“This mare continually draws the outside gate, which makes it very hard for her.
“I think if you went back through her form and really assessed it, you’d see that most of the big races she’s drawn the outside gate and had to give very good horses a lot of ground.
“That makes it very hard. About the only time we’ve drawn decent gates have been when we’ve drawn them ourselves.
“I’m talking about six in a row – Cantala Stakes, The Invitation, Epsom (in October last year).
“She’s not Winx. She’s not an out-and-out champion, but it’s incredible how hard (she’s had to do it).”
Despite barrier luck not being on her side, Widdup believes Icebath is in a good routine well into her preparation.
Saturday’s feature will be her fifth start since she finished sixth in the $250,000 The Agency Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on February 12.
Her last start was an admirable third in the $3 million The Star Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick last Saturday.
“Everything’s good. She’s come through the race really good and I’m looking forward to Saturday,” Widdup said.
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“It was a really good performance. She’s very good at the Randwick mile, and she’s been set for that race all preparation and she ran terrific.
“She gets another chance this week. She’s a good back-up horse, she likes a bit of rain around and she’s in very good order.
“The further she goes into her prep the better she pulls up. Her fitness is coming on nicely.
“She’s in good order. She handles (backing up) really well. She should be spot-on.”
After finishing a length behind Ben and JD Hayes’ Doncaster Mile winner, Mr Brightside, Widdup is confident Icebath can stand up in another super impressive mile field.
“The other day at least she was able to get in a good spot and travel well in a slower-run Doncaster,” he said.
“If she was out the back she probably would’ve run a similar race to Cascadian (who finished ninth for James Cummings).
“You can’t knock the field whatsoever. She’ll be up against it, but she’s there abouts as well.”