Cracking Destiny a gift that keeps on giving for Hawick racehorse trainer Ewan Whillans
The ten-year-old bay gelding, previously trained by Worcestershire’s Ian Williams and Berkshire’s Nicky Henderson, was gifted to Whillans in 2019 and the Borderer then gave the horse, a two-time winner at that point, to his wife Louise.
Cracking Destiny, in turn, has been giving back to the pair ever since arriving at Whillans’ Newmill stables, notching up six wins since, the latest of them at Musselburgh’s 3.25pm Prince Philip Perpetual Challenge Trophy Handicap Chase yesterday, November 8, picking up just over £13,000 in prize money.
Ridden by Hawick jockey Craig Nichol, the 9/1 outsider got round the one-mile-seven-furlong course almost five lengths ahead of long-time leader and 5/4 favourite Fidelio Vallis, trained by Berkshire’s Harry Derham and ridden by Paul O’Brien.
“It’s unbelievable. I’m over the moon,” Whillans told Racing TV.
“I thought he'd run well but I didn’t think he had that in him.
“Craig said they went quick early on and it played to his strengths as he sits off the pace and needs them to go fast over two miles.
“He was my first winner as well. He’s literally like a family pet.
“He got gifted to us by Tony Williams and I gave him to my wife. He had his first run for her in May and I don’t think he’s been out of the first four since. She’ll probably have the prize-money spent already!
“In all my time in racing, I’ve never had a horse nicer natured. He’ll stay with us for life when he retires.
“He’s been a real star for us.
“He’s had a good year and I was thinking of giving him the rest of the winter off, but we might come back to Musselburgh for a nice race on New Year’s Day.”
Sandy Thomson’s Lambden yard near Kelso was represented in that race too but he had to settle for fifth and last place with Cedar Hill, ridden by Ryan Mania.
Whillans also took a runner-up spot and third place at the East Lothian meeting, the former with Nichol on Scots Poet in the concluding 4pm Racing TV for Free Now Handicap Hurdle and the latter with Sean Quinlan on Ingleby Mackenzie in the 2.15pm Close Brothers and CMS McKenna Handicap Chase.
Yetholm trainer Sandy Forster was among the day’s other winners, with Dr Shirocco in the 2.50pm Start Your Racing TV Free Trial Now Novices’ Handicap Chase.
That victory over two miles and four furlongs for the eight-year-old chestnut gelding, ridden by Henry Brooke, earned £4,225 in prize money.
“He’s not very big but this is his second win over fences and he has a great attitude,” said Forster.
“This was his first run since he won at Hexham in June so we’ll see what we can find next for him.”
Dr Shirocco’s win was half of a 152-1 double for Brooke as he also rode Belle of Annandale, trained by Adrian Keatley in North Yorkshire, to victory in the 1.40pm Get Closer With a Racing TV Free Trial Novices’ Hurdle.
Former Hawick trainer Iain Jardine, now based at Carrutherstown in Dumfries and Galloway, was also among the winners, with Call Me Harry, ridden by Patrick Wadge, in the opening 12.35pm Racing TV Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle.
Haveyougotmymoney, trained by Paul Robson near Denholm and with Dylan Johnston as jockey, was runner-up in that two-mile-seven-furlong race, finishing half a length behind Call Me Harry.
That was one of two second places for Robson, the other being with Magic Mike, with Nichol riding, in the 2.15pm race.