Engaging ($2.25) delivered what was an early Christmas present for Hawkesbury trainer Brad Widdup, as the four-year-old claimed his first ever win at Tyers Park on Saturday afternoon.
Mathew Cahill was in the saddle for the chestnut gelding, who started as race favourite in the Central West Coolroom Hire CG&E Maiden Handicap (1200 metres).
The win brings an end to Engaging’s 15-start winless record, one that Widdup was delighted to see end.
“It was great. It was only my second run with him,” he said.
“It was a great ride by Mat Cahill. It drew a good gate and that probably won us the race.
“He’s placed out here before so it was good to get the win.”
Engaging drew barrier one and settled one back in the inside, in the opening 400 metres.
Catcha Crown ($4.60), trained by Bathurst’s Roy McCabe, was the leader with 800 metres to go, closely followed by Eradicator ($16).
At this stage, Engaging, in third, was closely followed by massive outside Reverence For Life ($101).
The front three held their positions heading into the home straight and that is where Engaging made his move.
Jockey Cahill guided the gelding ahead of Eradicator, to win by 0.99 lengths.
Catcha Crown claimed the finally placing, finishing third.
Bathurst trainer Paul Theobald saw his seven-year-old gelding Rise Me Up start his 40th race which resulted in a ninth place finish.
However, Rise Me Up has won a respectable $25,630 in his lengthy career.
After the win, Widdup said Engaging is more suited to country-styled races.
“He’s an honest type of horse,” the Hawkesbury trainer admitted.
“He’s probably more suited to country races. He’s won a race and you never know [what can happen].”
While the track was rated a good three, Widdup felt like it was a bit firm.
“It’s a bit firm but it’s that time of year,” he said.
“The track has been in good order and I’ve had a bit of luck here. I hope to keep coming out here.”
And whether Engaging will come back to Bathurst?
Well Widdup said he’s not sure if he will bring him back.
“I’m not sure what we’ll do,” he said.
“He’s suited out here but I don’t think I’ll bring him back out here.
“Someone else might take him. He’s done his job. He’s won a race.”
Previously, Engaging only got close to a win on three occasions – all second placings.
Those seconds came at Gosford and Kembla Grange, both in July last year, and second in his only previous start at Bathurst, in February 13, 2017, where he finished a length behind the winner.