They say no news is good news -but not always

Ask the connections of Wild Willow a collection of  supporters of Purdon Racing including Phil Creighton and John Grainger and wives Margaret and Jenny.

All Stars gave $50,000 for Wild Willow as a yearling, handy value as a foal of a Group One winner.As a big horse he was given  time to mature and so avoided those buyers looking for compact early comers.Still, he showed plenty of potential in a handful of outings as a later two year old including a win at his third start at Kaikoura last October in the hands of Olivia Thornley,who posted her latest winner at Addington on Sunday.

When Wild Willow resumed in April as a three year old the message was clear as he ran 2.55 and change at Ashburton running down the  rated favourite Ohoka Le Bron who has raced on well thru the winter, and Adesanya. 

Quietly driven by Natalie in the trail Wild Willow used his giant strides to good effect to win easily in the end. That was the good news. But bad was to follow.

The big horse developed a tendon problem and Purdon Racing veterinary consultant,Lindsay Colwell,a specialist in leg injuries, feared for a time the outlook was not good for his racing future.  At such an early stage in his career it was  a major disappointment.

However Dr Colwell kept an open mind and also kept the injury under observation and testing. She was later able to tell the stable it wasn’t a serious tendon tear as it first looked like and the future was looking a lot brighter.

Now, thanks to her expertise, the big horse is set to return to the stables on August 1st and prepare for a late spring campaign.

Syndicate manager, Phil Creighton, who has had long experience in breeding and racing horses was naturally thrilled.

“The big thing for us was that Mark and Natalie thought he had a big future and for a time there we thought it might not happen. So we were pleased to hear that it was looking a lot better and also that were so  impressed with his ability”

Wild Willow’s dam, Willow, (Bettor’s Delight)  was Natalie’s first G1 winner in NZ taking out the Sires Stakes Final for three year old fillies in Auckland with a tough performance beating Raksdeal,Rock n Roll Arden and Venus Serena among others.Her previous three wins had been at Wairio, Northern Southland and Tuapeka meetings but she stepped up with no trouble and later won at Ashburton in 1.55.Then from gate 12, she ran 1.53 and change there when fourth in a Harness Jewels in an especially competitive edition. 

When she was fourth in the Northern Breeders at  four in front of her were The Orange Agent,Venus Serena and her G1 stablemate, Fight for Glory. A vintage year.

Willow,raced by Bill and Jean Feiss, and since owned by Breckon Farms, started her breeding career on a quieter note (Willow Bay was an earlier winner for Purdon Racing) but since Wild Willow sprang on the scene things have changed. Word had got around Rolleston by the time Kennard Bloodstock went to $95,000  for her Captaintreacherous colt at this year’s sale.

That partnership knew about the family’s ability to leave big stock having bought the outsize Sportswriter gelding,a half-brother to Willow and a first foal, who never raced,not helped by an  unfortunate name.

Wild Willow’s 3rd dam was the redoubtable Rain Girl, a tough open class racemare who took on and beat the best males around. Prior to that the family was not especially fashionable but featured a strong stallion lineup.

And  if he is as tough as she was, and as genuine as his dam was, the owners of Wild Willow certainly have something to look forward to this summer.


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