The new year has brought a fresh resolve to well-credentialled horseman Brad Widdup, who will rely on two horses to showcase his training skills at Rosehill.
Widdup had a tumultuous 2019 after his biggest client, high profile owner Damion Flower, was arrested over alleged drug smuggling charges.
The setback happened just over two years after Widdup ventured out on his own having spent more than two decades working for some of the country’s best horseman, including Peter Snowden and John O’Shea during their eras with Godolphin.
Widdup did have some bright spots, including promising filly Akari who scored back-to-back stakes wins, one of them at Flemington during the Melbourne Cup carnival.
But the trainer admits the past 12 months have been tough.
“It has been hard,” Widdup said.
“But I just have to do my best. I was at the Magic Millions sale and I bought a couple there which was good.
“You’ve just to keep on getting out there.
“My main sell is the horses performing so that’s my aim.”
Widdup has achieved that goal with consistent filly Switched and last-start winner Rare Episode, who will fly the stable’s flag at Rosehill on Saturday.
Switched contests the Lou Cox Handicap (1100m) having been narrowly beaten at her past two starts at Randwick, efforts Widdup has been rapt with given the filly has been taking on older, more experienced mares.
“It’s always a tricky time of year to place a three-year-old,” Widdup said.
“She is still maturing. She’s not there yet so what she is doing at the moment is a good sign for the future.”
Rare Episode, one of few horses by the late 2013 Australian Guineas winner Ferlax, runs in the Bill Waterhouse Handicap (1100m) chasing his seventh win in 16 starts.
Like Switched, Rare Episode will be ridden by Widdup’s brother-in-law Christian Reith.
Widdup also has plenty to look forward to in the autumn, confirming Akari has returned to work in great shape and will trial early next month ahead of her return in the Light Fingers Stakes.