Skywalker Cilla has run her last race.
The brilliantly fast daughter of Laughil Blake and Droopys Zero suffered a recurrence of a nagging injury in the second round of the Derby on Saturday night and the decision has been made to retire her.
Although far from overly raced since debuting as Droopys Cream in August 2020, she established herself as one of the very fastest ladies on these shores at a time when the bitch division was never stronger.
In a career that spanned just twenty races, Skywalker Cilla packed an awful lot in. Ray Patterson stepped into purchase her after just her second career start in late August 2020. Despite making a tardy start and finding traffic, she flew home behind Patterson’s other star Skywalker Barry. He had seen enough and she became Skywalker Cilla.
AN INSPIRED PURCHASE
It was inspired move.
She didn’t race again that year but returned to the track in February of 2021 and quickly lived up to the promise she had shown in her first two career outings, winning the Reddan Windows Champion Bitch Stake at Thurles.
Improving through the competition, she clocked a rapid 28.82 in the decider before having another break due to season. She returned almost a year to the day after her racing debut to contest the opening round of the 2021 Boylesports Derby.
At the time, the sponsors of the classic had reported shrewd money for the December ’18 whelp to win the Derby. It seemed a stretch to think a bitch with just six races under her belt, returning from season, could win the blue riband but she quickly emerged as a real challenger.
After blowing away the cobwebs in the opening round, she ran a big race in defeat in the second round before finding top form a week later. Despite bumping at the turn, she ran on strongly to beat Ballymac Fairone by two lengths in 29.45. It was now a real possibility that she would go all the way but she ran out of luck at the quarter final stages.
AN INCREDIBLE CONSOLATION RUN
Bad crowding cost her a place in the semi-finals, failing by just a half-length to qualify.
She returned a fortnight later to contest the Consolation Derby and blew her rivals out of the water.
Just over a half hour before Susie Sapphire became the fastest Derby final winner of all time in 29.18, Skywalker Cilla left a quality field standing to emerge an easy winner in a sensational 29.19.
The ambitious decision to travel across the water was made soon after and she contested the English Oaks at Perry Barr. She was one of the undoubted stars of the competition going unbeaten through the preliminaries before starting an odds-on favourite in the decider. Alas, on a night when the wind and rain was relentless, Skywalker Cilla found all sorts of traffic on a wet, slow track and could never get involved behind her compatriot Billys Diva.
That was her final start of 2021. After a near-eight-month layoff, she lined out in the opening round of the Tipperary Cup in July and duly won her opening and second round assignments. Injury forced her withdrawal from the third round and it was the same injury that ended her career this weekend.
During her twenty-race career, she won twelve times, took on and beat some of the very best in the business and clocked some incredible times.
Given her profile, her pedigree and her incredible ability, it seems inevitable she will produce a few stars in her new career as a brood.
Brendan O’Neill confirmed she will have a date with Droopy Sydney when the time is right and they are already planning for her second litter with Skywalker Barry waiting in the wings. Skywalker Cilla really was a very special lady and we look forward to seeing her progeny hitting the track in the coming years.