WELL-PERFORMED trotter Wobelee has been retired.
Trainer Alison Alford broke the disappointing news this morning, stating Wobelee was suffering from “another suspensory injury”.
The top performer among his crop, Wobelee had 18 starts as a two and three-year-old for 14 wins and four placings.
While stringing together a 12-start winning streak, the gelding captured five Group Ones and a Group Two.
Sidelined for 13 months, which restricted him to three outings at four, Wobelee made a smooth transition to open company.
Despite being plagued by injury and setbacks, Wobelee competed admirably against Australasia’s best squaregaiters and is retired with a record of 24 wins and 24 placings from 65 starts for a bankroll of $511,529.
Wobelee’s final racetrack appearance saw him finish third at Tabcorp Park Melton a fortnight ago.
“The hardest part of loving a horse so much is when doing the right thing is also the hardest thing to do,” Alford said.
“It is with a heavy, but thankful, heart that we hang up Wob’s bridle for the final time.
“To ask him to come back from another suspensory injury after everything he has done for us isn’t fair on him.”
Injuries aren’t the only obstacles Wobelee overcame to be the star he was, with the son of Down Under Muscles lucky to be alive, let alone racing.
As he reflects on Wobelee’s career, owner Colin Murphy can’t help but think of the his troubled start to life.
Born premature, the foal’s leg weren’t developed correctly, with Murphy fearing the colt may have to be put down.
As Murphy described it, the newborn was “walking on his wrists and elbows”, meaning feeding from his mother was a major obstacle.
“Thankfully he was able to feed, which prevented Murphy from making a painful decision.
“He wouldn’t stand up and was walking on his wrists and elbows,” Murphy said. “I actually thought I might have to shoot him because I was concerned he wouldn’t make it.
“He was born early, just wasn’t ready, and if you’d seen him, you wouldn’t have given two-bob for him.
“He was like a cripple, and obviously, we were pretty concerned about him
“Lucky he could reach his mum on his elbows, which was a big relief for the poor little bugger.
“So we just let him be, while keeping a close eye on him and hoped for the best, whether it be as a racehorse or just a lovely colt for someone into the future.”
With his legs eventually straightening out, and a racing career looking promising, the youngster in question was ultimately named Wobelee at the persistence of Murphy.
“When it was time to name him, I was determined what named I wanted, so I submitted it with various ways of spelling wobbly,” Murphy recalled.
“I also wanted him to have seven letters, which I try and do with my horses ever since watching the Phar Lap movie.
“I’ve had names such as La Mosca, which won the Redwood, and Miracle, which finished second in the Sires’ as a two-year-old.”
Showing no indications of his early leg problems, Wobelee has developed into a high speed performer, reminiscent of fictional character Forrest Gump, who overcame trouble legs to become a star out on the field.
“Forrest Gump would’ve been a good name for him, but all I could think of wobbly, which it simply had to be,” Murphy said. “Wobbly is the only way to describe his movements early on.”
Alford echoed Murphy’s sentiment on how Wobelee was simply a surprise package given his battles from birth.
“Never in our wildest dreams did we ever think he would achieve what he has,” Alford said.
“Going from a horse who “might win a few” to giving us the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.
“He is quirky, he is stubborn and he has challenged every inch of our being. Oh man, the number of nights we have laid awake thinking of him.
“It took a village to race Wobs…from stable staff to vets to farriers to body workers to track attendants to clerk’s and everyone in between… thank you for the role that you played in helping us to get the best out of him.
“We can never thank Colin and his family enough for trusting us with Wobs training without question for the past six years.”