ANYTHING GOES will miss Cup Week racing,dealing a blow to Purdon Racing and his owners, but also to the Addington club struggling to fill the Junior FFA field on Tuesday.

Anything Goes ran well in the Special Conditions race at Kaikoura off a difficult mark but didn’t meet the exacting standards of Nath and Mark going forward into next week. Logic would suggest a freshener followed by an attack on holiday features next month.

The big son of American Ideal has had mixed reviews in recent weeks as a “greenhorn” taking on the top classes with the aim of an NZ Cup start but Nathan has not lost the faith. In fact its stronger than ever.

“I guess I originally thought he was just a very good horse but then he seemed to lift any time you drove him and he deserved a go at the big time stuff. There was always the chance it would be a year too soon and I think that is the case”

One training memory of the horse is enough to fuel of Nathan’s belief we haven’t seen the best of him yet.

“We took him into Addington one morning.He worked a bit of time and the  I let him run from the 400.He ran it in 26. It wasn’t that so much as that he felt as if he could run the next quarter just as quickly.Its not a feeling you forget easily”

The really bad news for the stable and connections last week,however,was the retirement of WILD WILLOW long rated at Rolleston as a horse with a huge future.

A big son of Willow, Natalie’s first Group One winner in New Zealand,Wild Willow’s size dictated a patient policy. After  a quiet debut for Natalie, he ran fourth to Sherlock and Sinbad as a two year old then posted his first win at Kaikoura last year. He didn’t appear again until April when Natalie steered him to win at Ashburton in 2.55 at his first start in 5 months.

Various niggles associated with growing pains restricted his appearances but he was poised for a return at the Cup meeting until what at first appeared to be a minor injury flared causing him to scratch from Ashburton.

“It turned out to be a lot worse than that when (veterinary specialist) Lindsay (Colwell)  went into it further.He had holes in the tendon,top and bottom,and retirement is the only option when they are like that. He was a terrific horse. If he had been in the Derby fit and well I am not saying he would have won it but he would have kept them very honest”

Willow’s first foal, Willow Run, ran fourth to Akuta in a Harness Millions Two Year Old and beat Beach Ball in his only win in  9 starts before having to be retired. The latest foal,Mediator (Captain Treacherous) a New Year’s Day foal was purchased by the Phil and Glenys Kennard “Spankem” Syndicate for $95,000 at this year’s sales. Michael House bought Sweet Willow at the 2022 sales and the Sweet Lou colt has since qualified.

Phil Creighton, a long time owner with the Purdon stable, was the “anchor” owner of Wild Willow and had been hoping for better things.

“Mark made an assessment of him early when saying he would need time by saying he could be a very special horse.Mark doesn’t make those sort of statements easily I have found over the years.So we were happy to take our time”

That story hasn’t ended as hoped. But as they say “That’s racing”






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