Ian Fortune

Willie Rigney hit the headlines yesterday afternoon with the announcement of even more wonderful sponsorships under the TIME Greyhound Nutrition banner (See separate story by clicking HERE) but he is hoping to make very different headlines in the future with the hugely exciting Fairy Footsteps.

The daughter of Droopys Sydney and Enable was one of the standout performers in the opening round of the Brownstown Tango & NTSC Open Unraced Bitch 525 at Newbridge on Monday. It came as no surprise, however. In her final trial ahead of the stake, Fairy Footsteps posted 28.34 for Michael Flynn around Shelbourne Park.  

It was soon after that trial that Willie, along with his great friend and English Derby winning owner Keith Alsop, stepped into buy the bitch. Eagle-eyed observers will probably ask the question why given the fact that Willie is the breeder of the bitch.

That’s where Willie takes up the story. It seems she was part of a swap deal soon after her birth but Willie was lucky enough to ask for first refusal should she turn into a good one. It’s safe to say she is more than just ‘good’ and Rigney and Allsop can now start dreaming of classic glory with their young star.

Of course, it’s not the first time Keith Allsop bought one out of the competition. He stepped into purchase the 2022 winner Slick Sakina, who went on to become one of the very best bitches to race in the UK in recent years, winning the 2022 English Oaks and Eclipse Stakes at Nottingham.

As it happens, Slick Sakina is with Willie Rigney and has a four-month-old litter by Dorotas Wildcat on the ground. Should Fairy Footsteps go onto achieve half of what Slick Sakina did, her new owners will be more than happy.

Plans for the bitch are up in the air. She will remain with Michael Flynn for the remainder of the Newbridge stake and is likely to go to Pat Guilfoyle if campaigned in Ireland or Patrick Janssens when she travels across the water although there is no rush on that decision. She has yet to come into season and that could influence where she ends up down the line. Either way, she is clearly one with a big future and is worth keeping an eye on.