Walkabout Creek didn’t hit the race track until he was four, and when he finally got there and ran a dull third on debut at lowly Dubbo under the hardest driving you’d seen since Neville Clarke smashing Gammalite, he didn’t look like ever becoming much either.
That assessment seemed confirmed the next week when Walkabout Creek again got bashed into a battling 3rd at the same battlers track, and after his soft sixth at Parkes seven days later every man and his dog would have declared the slow pacer’s lack of a career a certainty.
Everyone but Shaun Anthony Simiana anyway. Shonky Shawn saw something in Walkabout Creek that everyone else missed.
The horse had a rump you could inject EPO and peptides into.
So inject trainer Simiana did, and before you could say James Hird suddenly the plodding pacer had grown another leg.
Walkabout Creek won three races in a row, and 4 out of his next 7, including one at Menangle where he scorched 1.52.7 for the mile. This from a horse who could hardly go a yard six months before, and regarded running sub-two minute mile rates as something only other horses did.
Do I need to tell you that he was backed off the map in each of his wins? Or that the stable smarties smashed him from double figure odds into $1.50 on his Simiana debut?
It was a rhetorical question.
Of course I don’t.
I don’t need to tell you why he improved so much either, do I?
After Walkabout Creek’s win at Menangle, his trainer Simiana threw up the first of what were to be many positive swabs.
And suddenly the glory days for the dour pacer from Dubbo were over, just like that.
After three more runs in NSW where he finished last, eighth and eighth, Walkabout Creek was sent across the Nullabor Plain to see if there any miracles in the water in Perth that could revive his form.
There weren’t of course: trotting miracles don’t come in water, they come in bottles, vials and syringes.
Walkabout Creek had another 62 starts for three different trainers in the West. He won just four of them, each in lowly races for slugs when he led, and all of them in real slow time.
Oh well, it was good while it lasted. For the cheats at least. But now it was all over, and we wouldn’t be seeing Shonky Shaun Simiana back on a race track for the next sixteen years.
That’s what the Stewards thought anyway.
Next up: Part 3 – The Cheating Man with a Devious Plan