Following the retirement of Group One winner and stable star Icebath, trainer Brad Widdup is relying on a strategy of youth as he bids to unearth his next carnival player.
A five-time winner of more than $5.2 million in stakes, Icebath will begin her next chapter as a broodmare this spring and while Widdup doesn’t expect to replace her, he is hopeful some of his emerging young horses can develop into carnival contenders.
“We’ve got a lot of young horses around us now and hopefully one of them puts their hand up,” Widdup said.
Among Widdup’s team of hopefuls is filly Fire Lane, an acceptor for the Listed Rosebud (1100m) at Rosehill on Saturday.
The daughter of Hellbent claimed the scalp of Group 3 winner Platinum Jubilee at Randwick in December and finished a competitive fifth behind Skirt The Law in the Magic Millions Classic at the Gold Coast.
Runner-up to the Chris Waller-trained Olentia in her most recent barrier trial, Fire Lane has developed physically since her juvenile season according to her trainer, but with a host of fresh horses likely to emerge during the early spring, Widdup knows she has to keep stepping up.
“She is definitely stronger. After a two-year-old season, it’s hard to get a gauge on how they’ve come back because a few of the others have been held back,” Widdup said.
“But she’s very genuine and very tough.
“Robbie (Dolan) was very happy with her trial. She was against four-year-olds and that one of Chris’ (Olentia) could be pretty smart.”
Fire Lane has drawn barrier seven in the field of eight and will be shooting to give Widdup his second win in the race after Sandbar five years ago.
She will also be bidding to become just the second filly to capture the Rosebud after She’s A Fox (2012).
Despite the race having been dominated by the colts and geldings, Fire Lane will be among a quartet of fillies taking on the boys this year along with Tiz Invincible, Cigar Flick and Infatuation.
– RAS NewsWire