Snapping Turtle
DW Whillans col
Snapping Turtle : 2005 bay gelding
Owner : D. W. Whillans
Snapping Turtle close up


                                                                     Fairy King
                                        Turtle Island
  Snapping Turtle (IRE)
  2005 bay gelding
                                                                     Rakaposhi King
                                        Rachael's Dawn
                                                                     Edwina's Dawn

The family

The dam, Rachael's Dawn, showed her best form in bumpers, winning once and placed twice (later placed over hurdles). She has made a promising start as a broodmare, with that winner under Rules and prolific P2P winner Freddie's Return, with several unraced sorts to come.

The 2nd dam, Edwina's Dawn has bred 4 winners, but the eye-catching aspect here is her unraced daughter Herald the Dawn. This mare has an excellent record, headed by her smart sons, the very useful chasers Planet of Sound and From Dawn to Dusk.

Of course, the presence of the name "Dawn" in the pedigree in no coincidence. The family does indeed trace back to the Cheltenham Gold Cup & Champion Hurdle legend Dawn Run.

About the sire

Turtle Island (bay horse, born 1991) was the Champion 2yr old in Ireland in 1993, and won 6 races in all from 5f - 8f. He won several Group races, notably the Irish 2000 Guineas.

He was retired to stud in 1995.
He has sired the winners of over 200 races on the flat, including several Stakes winners. He is no less successful over jumps, being the sire of the winners of over 175  races.
On the racetrack, Turtle Island was well suited by soft going, and he tends to pass this trait to his progeny.
His best NH runners are (the late) An Cathaoir Mor, very useful chaser Bensalem, Sir Ian and of course National third and Grade 2 winning chaser Seabass.

Snapping Turtle at Hexham
Form Summary

When Robert Robinson of Distillery Stud took his 5yr old gelding by Turtle Island to the DBS August Mixed sale (2010), he would have been a little disappointed (although not entirely surprised) with the 'not sold' outcome.
The gelding had been lined up just over a year earlier to be catalogued at the DBS Spring Stores sale, as a more attractively packaged unbroken 4 year old. However, a small cut to a leg made him miss that appointment, hence the late appearance on the sales circuit, as a now 'broken in' 5yr old.
A few days after the 'not sold' outcome, Robert got in touch with Donald to see if we would at all be interested in this gelding. And we were.

This likeable gelding proved quite backward, and didn't quite make the racecourse until December 2011. But what a delight he gave us when running a cracker in a Carlisle bumper to claim the runner-up slot. 
He has followed up that with three runs in novice hurdles during season 2011-12 - finishing third each time with the first two efforts in particular very promising. Third on his chase debut in the 2012-13 season, he then didn't build on that at all, and we sent him back over hurdles and he finished off with a 4th at Hexham in April 2013.
Fast forward to December 2013, and up he pops in an 18 runner Newcastle handicap hurdle at 33-1. And then there was the tremendous 2014-15 season, where Snapping Turtle recorded 2 wins, 2 seconds, 2 thirds and a 17lb rise in the handicap. Not so bad for a (then) 10 year old!
Well, 2015-16 didn't match the heights of the previous season for this gelding, but he still ran some fine races and was placed 5 times. For season 2016-17, he dropped back to a competitive rating (OR92) as of September '16 and he duly won a handicap hurdle at Sedgefield in December '16. This was a victory in slightly unusual circumstances, as our gelding finished 2nd beaten ½ length by Brian Borahna but was awarded the race when the winner weighed in 2lb light. He followed up that effort with a couple of placed efforts, but his form did tail off a bit as the season wore on.
We've 'retired' Snapping Turtle a few times now but he's had more comebacks than Sinatra so don't be surprised to see this veteran in Northern staying hurdles this forthcoming season.

Season win 2nd 3rd 4th other
2011-12 NH Flat 1    
2011-12 hurdles 2    
2012-13 hurdles     1 1  
2012-13 chases     2   3
2013-14 hurdles 1       1
2014-15 hurdles 2 2 2   2
2015-16 hurdles   3 1 1 4
2016-17 hurdles 1 1   1 5
2017-18 hurdles          
Current Season Form
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