Widdison a winner, numbers set to swell

Dec 11, 2016

Article by: Brad Bishop, Racing.com

The cushy lead-up to Christmas that Craig Widdison had in mind when he relocated back to Wodonga has not eventuated.

The trainer only has nine horses on the books at the moment, but his numbers more than doubled a week ago when he picked up five horses formerly trained by Brian Cox, who last week commenced a three-and-a-half year disqualification.

Widdison will gain a further 25 this week if stewards approve an application to take over Cox’s old stables.

“I thought I’d only have a couple in work until Christmas and give myself an easy Christmas, but I’ve ended up with five from Coxy so far and that’s a chance of growing by the end of this week,” Widdison said.

“We’re waiting on approval this week. We’re working with the stewards to make sure everything’s right and done properly. Those things take a bit of time.

“I’m down in Lizzie Aalbers’ barn, sharing with her at the minute, but we’ll see how that plays out this week.”

Widdison returned to Wodonga late in the spring, ending a nine-year stint with Peter Morgan, whom he trained in partnership with for four seasons.

The 37-year-old got the current phase of his career off to the perfect start when Murdoch’s Joy, one of the five horses transferred to Widdison from Cox, won Saturday’s $25,000 Cootamundra Cup.

The nine-year-old strolled home by three lengths in a performance that did not surprise Widdison. What did shock the trainer was the drift from $3.80 to $6.

“I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “His last two runs at Benalla and in the Wodonga Cup were good and just on form I thought he’d have to be really hard to beat yesterday. But he just kept drifting.

“He probably should have run a place in the Wodonga Cup and he came through that really well, so the stable were happy with him before I took over.”

“He was my first runner, so it was a nice way to start.”

Widdison considers himself a chance of making it two wins in two days with Wilscot in fine shape to defend his Italian Plate title at Tatura.

“He won this race last year, he’s third-up today and should be just about at peak fitness and ready to run a big race I think.”

Wilscot, who will be ridden by Daniel Stackhouse and jump from gate three, is a $17 chance with CrownBet in the Italian Plate, which is Race 5 on the Tatura card at 3.50pm.

Image: Racing Photos

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