Group Three test for paddock mate

By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk

Woodlea Beaver was originally purchased as a paddock mate by part-owner and trainer Thomas Twidle, but she has her opportunity to put her name up in lights when she contests the Gr.3 Downbytheseaside Leonard Memorial Stakes (2000m) at Addington on Sunday.

Twidle travelled north to New Zealand Bloodstock Standardbred’s All Aged Sale at Karaka two years ago to invest in a filly and while he got the horse he wanted, he decided to have a go at bringing Woodlea Beaver home as well after being impressed with her upon inspection at the South Auckland sales complex.

“We went up to buy a really nice bred filly,” he said. “We bought a nice Sweet Lou filly out of Tricky Girl, which is a Bettor’s Delight half-sister to (Group One winner) Elusive Chick,” Twidle said.

“We didn’t have to pay as much as we thought and we saw this filly (Woodlea Beaver) the day before and really liked her and the way she walked, so we thought we would try and buy her.

“We had all older horses at home and wanted a paddock mate for the other filly and that is what she is, a paddock mate, and has turned out very well as a paddock mate.”

While her more fancied stablemate has yet to make it to the track, Woodlea Beaver has had two starts for a fifth-placing on debut and was then runner-up over 1980m at Addington Raceway last start.

“I have been absolutely rapt with her,” Twidle said. “She is a nice little filly and she has improved every time she has gone out onto the track.”

Woodlea Beaver has drawn the ace barrier for Sunday’s contest, but Twidle admits to being wary of a few of his race rivals, namely Hayden Cullen’s debutants A Bettor You and Suntan.

“I don’t think she has got the express speed perhaps of one or two of the others, but I think she will have the ticker to match them,” Twidle said.

“It’s a nice batch of horses there, including two for All-Stars who are turning up on Sunday which I haven’t seen yet. I did watch their trial and even though they didn’t go a quick time, they looked like they were doing jog work. That’s a bit of a worry.

“If we can finish in the first three I will be happy.”

If she performs well on Sunday, a trip south to Invercargill six days later could be on the cards to contest the Gr.3 Caduceus Club Of Southland/Alabar Fillies Classic (2200m).

“There is the Caduceus race at Invercargill next weekend and if she comes through it well, and she would have to perform pretty well on Sunday, I would look at going there, just to give her a trip away and a bit of experience.”

A victory on Sunday would become one of the highlights of Twidle’s training career, however, Woodlea beaver isn’t the first promising juvenile filly in Twidle’s care.

“Early on I had a filly called Woodlea Life and as a two-year-old she was winning trials down here and I ended up taking her up to Auckland for her first start in the Delightful Lady Classic.

“It wasn’t a Group race then unfortunately, but it was still a big race, and we won that against Idancedallnight and Molly Darling, who were pretty useful animals.

“That was a pretty big moment for us.”

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