By Duane Ranger
Give Bill Haley and inch and he will take 500 metres.
The racehorse named after the early 1950s rock and roller Bill Haley, got a case of the wanders on Wednesday July 10.
Then 10 days later the inquisitive son of Rock N Roll Heaven won the Group Three $32,000 Ted & Edna Badcock Memorial 4yo Championship.
He’s since won at Redcliffe last Friday night.
“I didn’t go to the Redcliffe trots the night he escaped because I wanted to stay at home and watch the State Of Origin game. Then about half way through the first half Hayden Barnes, who lives two streets down, said there was a horse wandering around Honeywood Estate in Fernvale
Hayden lives to my right and Adam Sanderson not far on the left. Before long Adam and I paired off and Hayden went with Stephanie. Then we got the call. It was Bill Haley,” said his trainer Darrel Graham.
“Of all the nights for this to happen. I purposely stayed home to watch the footy,” he added.
The Kiwi-bred is owned by New Zealand horseman, Jay Abernethy, his father Wayne, and James Talbot. The Abernethys bred the 4-year-old brown gelding.
Bill Haley won four races in New Zealand and has won four more since arriving here in mid-May.
“He’s only had six starts for me. He’s a very nice racehorse. I’m just pleased he came through his street wander unscathed. I could hear his shoes on the bitumen, but couldn’t identify him until I got up close.
“I’ve been here 25 years and this is the first time a horse of mine has got out. He would have had to wander about 500m from the stables to get to the gate, which was open for the horses who were coming back from Redcliffe.
“The word got out too, because before long there was a ‘Honeywood Facebook’ post telling everyone there was an escaped horse running throughout the Estate.
“He’s got a mind all of his own, and he isn’t the easiest horse to deal with, but he sure has got some wheels,” Graham said.
“He’s the best I’ve got in work by a mile,” he added.
Mark Purdon drove Bill Haley to a gutsy head victory (1:54.5 mile rate) in his Group Three victory earlier this month, and then on Friday he and Kylie Rasmussen got the chocolates by 1.5 metres.
“That was also a phenomenal run. He ran past the second or third favourite for the Victoria Cup (Our Uncle Sam). You have to be a better than average horse to do that. He came home in a tick over 27. I was impressed,” Graham said.
Graham said he was uncertain about Bill Haley’s immediate future, but the 4-year-old Breeders Crown at Tabcorp Park, Melton, was a major mission.
“I’m not exactly sure where and when he will race next. I’ve been trying to get a hold of Jay but I think he’s spent the weekend celebrating,” Graham joked.
Regardless of what happens, Graham said Bill Haley now had a clip on his box which made it virtually impossible for him to escape again.
Meanwhile, Abernethy, was said he was delighted with the work Graham had done with the horse.
“Both Darrel and ‘Bill’ have done a great job. The phone hasn’t stop ringing after his last two wins. Mark and Kylie both dove him to perfection,” Abernethy said.
So what does lie ahead for Bill Haley?
“We have decided to stay close to home (Queensland) for a bit. I thought about Breeders Crown, but decided against it because I feel it’s a long way to go for one race.
“He’s still low in the lower grades over there, where he can just keep chipping away at local races for now.
“He will probably end up in the United States, because I’ve still got the mare (Elite Belle), so we are looking for a quick time next to his name,” Abernethy said from his Papakura (South Auckland) stables.