ZIPPING Willow has been officially retired after finishing seventh in a heat of the Group 1 Golden Easter Egg at Wentworth Park on Saturday night.
Trained by Jason Mackay, the daughter of Goodesy and Sirocco Lass was having her first start since being injured in the final of the Group 2 Gosford Gold Cup in January, but found plenty of trouble from box seven and was never in contention for the prize.
Zipping Willow has been a model of consistency throughout her 53 start career, winning 34 races and being placed on a further 10 occasions for a total of $190,195 in prize money earnings.
Owned by successful breeders Martin and Fiona Hallinan, Zipping Willow’s career highlights came when taking out the 2013 Group 3 Canberra Cup and the 2014 Group 3 Ladies Bracelet, while she also finished second in the 2014 Richmond Oaks and was a finalist in the 2014 Group 1 Topgun, the 2014 Group 2 Black Top, the 2014 Group 1 Dapto Megastar and the 2015 Group 1 Temlee.
Martin Hallinan confirmed to Australian Racing Greyhound on Monday that his bonny black bitch had faced the starter for the final time, despite an unsuccessful crack at the Golden Easter Egg series.
“Jason said to me six months ago that the Egg was going to be it for her and that’s where we’d pull the pin,” Hallinan said.
“Although the plan didn’t come off, we are sticking to it, we don’t want to keep pushing her.”
Hallinan said that Zipping Willow had nothing left to prove on the racetrack and that she would now head to the breeding barn after she has her first season.
“She has had (53) starts and she turns four this year, I am more than happy with what she has done on the track. She never won a Group 1 or 2 but she won a couple of Group 3s and had a terrific record at Wenty.
“My line is not renowned for its early speed, I normally have dour stayers, her and her sister Zipping Summah came out of the blue in that regard, so they are very valuable as broodbitches.
“I have a straw for Turanza Bale waiting for her, although I may go to My Bro Fabio — both are good chasers and are as strong as a bull, that’s what I need for her because she has the early pace.”
With such a terrific race record, Hallinan struggled to identify his favourite victory of Zipping Willow’s career.
“All of her wins were good, she was always racing in Free For Alls at Wentworth Park, so it was a big thrill each time she won one of those.
“The night she ran down Ritza Hattie at Wentworth Park running 29.45 in the Ladies Bracelet was something special, even Mark Gatt remarked that his bitch ran 29.50 and still got beat, it’s not often that happens, especially in Group finals.
“The Canberra Cup was a memorable win too — she came out under the lids that day and beat a very good field including Bookkeeper who was flying at the time.”
As the curtain closes for Zipping Willow, Hallinan was full of praise for Mackay who was instrumental in her having such a long and successful career.
“Jason has done a great job with her. It is a hard thing keeping a dog racing at the top level over a two year period in Free For All company and in group races — it is the sign of a really good trainer.”
Relive Zipping Willow’s fantastic win in the 2014 Group 3 Ladies Bracelet from box three.