Williams Well followed his mum into the history books in August 2000 when he won the Great St Wilfrid Stakes at Ripon. It was a super day that as Time Maite also won at Haydock Park for Tom Beston and Bernie Bargh.
At the time I said his success was a fairytale, and it was. I'd trained Willie's dam, Catherine's Well
to win the race in 1986 as a three year old.
Catherine won seven races but failed to produce a winner from her first three foals. So we sent the old girl back into training as a seven year old, and she went on to win another seven before a second retirement and return to the paddocks. Seven was her lucky number. Willie was the best of her offspring, but at first I wasn't convinced that he would be good enough. It was then assistant Robin O'Ryan who twisted me arm and Willie proved me wrong!
Willie was another multiple winner to carry the red and blue colours of my good friend, the late Ken Hodgson, and his wife Judith. Willie's half brothers Uhuru Peak, Elvington Boy and Emperor's Well were also good horses and all of them won a few races, but William's Well was the quickest of all her foals.
He was a chestnut gelding with no white markings other than white socks on his back legs. Apart from his runs in maiden races, he always wore blinkers to help him concentrate. He was a bit of a thinker you see, his mind easily wandered off the job in hand.
Like the rest of his family, he got better with age and was at his peak at the age of seven.
He was a winless two year old and he lost his maiden tag in June 1997 at Catterick when he was three and went on to win at Musselburgh, but he didn't win again til he was five. He was a horse that loved the summer months, he didn't come to hand until May. May to August was his time, he never won before May or after August in all his eight seasons.
Maybe the millennium celebrations woke him up as he won at Nottingham and Pontefract both over the minimum trip in 2000. Then his finest hour came in August, when he won the Great St Wilfrid's Handicap at Ripon for Dale Gibson. He had to survive a stewards enquiry though. Willie's last two wins came in 2003, both at Newcastle. We retired him in 2004, he'd won nine races and over seventy thousand in prizemoney.
Willie was a quirky individual as many sprinters are. He was a proper racehorse on the track but at home he was the biggest baby in the yard - David reckoned he was even scared of spiders.
But his mum would be proud of him when he followed her into the history books at Ripon.