ALTHOUGH she bowed out at the heat stage of the Group 1 Golden Easter Egg, it’s worth looking a little more closely at where Zipping Willow, lauded as the ‘Queen of Wentworth Park’, sits in the pantheon of those who have gone before her on the Glebe circuit.
Zipping Willow competed just 28 times on the track, all over the 520 metres trip, and recorded 20 victories, with two seconds and two thirds (Note: it has been reported elsewhere that she won 21 of 28, but this is incorrect).
Zipping Willow currently ‘owns’ the record for the most successive wins at the track, registering an incredible 10 consecutive victories in 2014. That broke the previous best sequence of eight on end, held by Miss Elly Mint and set in 2009.
This 10 on end may well be the record for Wentworth Park throughout its history, which started in October 1939. The previous best sequence, of which I’m aware, is also eight in a row, over the old 530 metres grass journey, set in 1984 by Turbo Top.
The only other greyhound to have won 10 on end at Wentworth Park is the stayer Pearl Larricki, all over the 720 metres trip, in 2001.
Zipping Willow also set the second and third section time records at Wentworth Park, clocking 13.52 and 17.60 on 28 June last year.
In terms of actual numbers of wins, Zipping Willow’s 20 successes places her in equal fourth place when it comes to wins recorded over 520 metres, behind Stately Bird (25 victories), Did I Entertain (24), and Golden Milo (22).
Zipping Willow shares equal fourth spot with Lucy Lawless and Benny’s Alarm.
When it comes to all-time wins over all distances at Wentworth Park since the track re-opened after the Second World War, Zipping Willow occupies equal seventh place, with Turbo Top (25 wins over 530 and 722 metres), Slick Appeal (24 wins over 520 and 720 metres), and Flash Joan (22 wins over 520 and 720 metres) ahead of Zipping Willow, while Sally’s Title (20 wins at 520 and 720 metres) is on the same level.
Zipping Willow and Lucy Lawless share some similarities. Apart from having won 20 races apiece over 520 metres at Wentworth Park, they both won the Ladies Bracelet (in 2014 and 1998 respectively) and both took out the Canberra Cup (in 2013 and 1998 respectively).
Where Zipping Willow really does earn her ‘Queen of Wentworth Park’ sobriquet is in terms of strike rate. Zipping Willow won 71 percent of her starts at headquarters. The next best in the top rank of 520 metres winners is Lucy Lawless, with a 46 percent strike rate (20 wins in 43 outings).
The only greyhounds with 15 or more wins at the post-1987 course with strike rates that are better or comparable to Zipping Willow’s are Gallant Ruler, 18 wins from 25 starts, or 72 percent, and Eiffella, whose 15 wins came from 21 starts, a 70 percent strike rate.
It is likely to be a long time before we see the likes of a Zipping Willow again at Wentworth Park.