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Death of Master Willie at age of 24.

Byline: Janet Hickman

MASTER WILLIE, a top-class performer for Henry Candy and later a globe-trotting stallion, has been put down, aged 24, at Conduit Farm. The High Line stallion had been suffering from a badly arthritic knee.

Conduit owner-manager Christopher Sweeting, who had stood Master Willie since 1998, said: "He was a most lovely horse to have. Although he covered very few mares this year, he got all but one in foal and was still the keenest to cover."

Candy also paid tribute to Master Willie, saying: "He was the most laid-back horse I've had. If you looked at the string from a mile away and there was a big gap in it, it would always be in front of Master Willie.

"I think his best run was when he had to make the running-which didn't really suit him-in the 1981 Coronation Cup. It was the day after the Derby and there was still lots of paper around, and he was spooking at everything, but he still won."

Master Willie, owned and bred by William Barnett, was first past the post in three of his four juvenile starts but was demoted to second in the Acomb Stakes. At three in 1980, having won the Easter Stakes and finished second in the Dante, he chased home Henbit in the Derby. Later that summer, his victory in the Benson & Hedges Gold Cup was the highlight of a four-timer on the York card for his sire High Line, completed by Shoot A Line (Yorkshire Oaks), Heighlin (Lonsdale Handicap) and Cocaine (Acomb Stakes).

He gained three more important successes at four, in the Jockey Club Stakes, Coronation Cup and Eclipse, before being sold for a reported $7m to stand alongside Northern Dancer at Windfields Farm in Maryland.

He had sporadic success as a stallion, with his best progeny including Grade 1 winner Deputy Governor, German Group 1 winner Hollywood Dream, Chilly Billy (Gimcrack S-Gr2), Pay Me Back (St Leger Italiano-Gr3) and several Graded winners. Among his best jumpers have been Champion Hurdle winner Make A Stand and Ladbroke Hurdle winner Master Tribe.

Master Willie was repatriated from the US before the 1988 season, re-exported to Germany in 1993 and reimported to Britain before the 1998 season. His second British stint has yielded Friday's Newbury juvenile winner Teresa Balbi.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Oct 31, 2001
Words:384
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