Charley A Logical Step For In-Form Widdup Duo

Trainer Brad Widdup has every reason to believe his in-form sprinters Surreal Step and Authentic Jewel have the right platform to hand him successive wins in the Listed $150,000 Bob Charley AO Stakes (1100m) at Randwick on Saturday.

Trainer Brad Widdup.

The Hawkesbury trainer won the June feature last year with Adelong and Surreal Step is in line to emulate that mare after breaking through in the At Sea Handicap over the same course two weeks ago.

In three starts since joining the Widdup yard, Surreal Step has shown he’d lost none of his talent as he atoned for two luckless performances going into his last start win.

“When they come from the stables he’s come from it’s hard to get a lot of upside,’’ Widdup said.

“I’m not saying he’s improved but for some reason he’s liking Hawkesbury, I don’t do anything different with him.

“I suppose it is D-Day to see what he does but it was good to see him get the money the other day.”

Surreal Step, $5 with TAB on Thursday, rises 2kg on his win two weeks ago but has come up with the inside alley and Widdup says an improving track shouldn’t be a negative for him.

“We can just have him where he wants to be,’’ he said.

“They’ll run along you’d imagine and he’ll have to bide his time I suppose. I don’t think it’s any harder than what he’s been racing in at his last couple of starts.”

The track condition is vital for three-year-old filly Authentic Jewel with Widdup adamant she performs at her best on top of the ground.

He’s prepared to overlook her failure in the Denise’s Joy at Scone a month ago and says she’s earned a shot at stakes grade against older horses with her game second at Caulfield two weeks ago.

“I don’t know what to make of the Scone run, she did cop a bit of buffeting and took a few days to pick back up,’’ he said.

“Her work on Tuesday on the course proper was excellent so she seems to be in good form.

“I think there’s something there, you’ve got to put them under pressure at some stage and this time of year is a good time to do it.”

Queen Bellissimo has been competitive in two runs back but will appreciate a return to firmer footing in the 50 Year And Life Members Handicap (1200m).

After being run down by Sacrimony at Hawkesbury when resuming, the four-year-old fought hard in a blanket finish to be beaten less than half a length by Rupertaar two weeks ago and drops 3kg on that fourth placing.

“I’ve got Dylan Gibbons on her with the claim to try and get a bit of weight off her,’’ Widdup said.

“It looks a nice race for her. She’s in good form and she should be more than competitive.”

Widdup said Moon Reader probably wants a softer track than is likely to present in the Midway Handicap (1200m) but she couldn’t be racing in better form as she chases a hat-trick.

Meanwhile, stable star Icebath has been back in Widdup’s stable for almost three weeks to prepare for another spring campaign and it’s likely to look fairly similar to 2021.

The mare registered another couple of Group 1 placings in the autumn and the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) and a defence of the $2m The Invitation (1400m) are well and truly on the radar again.

– Racing NSW

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