John Allen returns to the mounting yard on Storm Watch (Racing Photos)
Storm Watch showed great guts scoring on debut at Werribee on Friday, but it’s far from the toughest thing the colt has been through.
Speaking post-race, trainer Lindsey Smith revealed an almost unbelievable story from the raw three-year-old’s past, making Friday’s victory even more incredible.
In 2022, the horse now known as ‘Wilson’ was presumed dead, swept away from his paddock as a two-year-old during the disastrous Nagambie floods.
But remarkably, the son of Savabeel was found many kilometres away and identified thanks to his brandings.
“He’s lucky to be here – a couple of years ago when the floods were up at Nagambie, he was found about 100km away,” Smith said. “His nickname’s Wilson, after the ball on ‘Castaway’. He was in good hands with Tony Merrifield, who runs Limerick Farm up there … this one they just couldn’t find him, they got the phone call, with the brands and whatnot, and there he was, way down the river. I know the farm will be very happy, they’re quite close to this horse because of the courage he’s shown … they did an incredible job saving those horses and Wilson’s here to tell the story! If he couldn’t run, we were going to put him in the swimming race!”
WATCH: Storm Watch breaks maiden
Wearing the famous Gerry Ryan colours, Storm Watch needed every step of the 1649 metres to win, sitting well off the leaders and coming off the bit very early under John Allen.
Tom Dabernig’s Bonnaroo ($23) looked to have the race sewn up, but Smith’s galloper ($4) put in a last-second dive and got the nod from the judge.
It leaves Smith open-minded about Storm Watch’s prospects heading forwards, with the colt looking very capable of handling a step up in trip.
“He looks like he might have a future over a bit of ground,” he said.
“He’s a bit dumb, the horse, and a bit new, but an aggressive, strong rider did the trick.
“I think he needs gelding, but we’ll just see what Johnny says … I think he’ll push on.”