It’s not hard to understand why Colin Webster has special affection for Crystal Valley.
She probably won’t be the best horse Webster has trained, but that hasn’t lessened his bond and liking for the Blackfriars mare.
Crystal Valley has won five races and been placed on five other occasions from her 20 start career to date, but it’s her courage off the track that has inspired Webster.
While at trackwork in the middle of a cold winter in Perth earlier this year, Crystal Valley almost lost her life in a freak drowning accident.
If not for the quick action of several track helpers and the care and patience of Webster’s staff, Crystal Valley may never have raced again.
“Mid-winter the temperature was 2.8 degrees and she shied from the centre of the racecourse and got free,” Webster said on Tabradio.
“She finished up in the dam and got tangled up in wire and cables that were all there.
“There were five very brave people, my son Col Jr, Troy Turner, Ray Vincent, Dan Morton and Shayne Miller, they all stripped down and jumped into the freezing cold water.
“They were able to save her life and free her from the wire that she was entangled in.
“We were very, very lucky to save her, but when she got out her four legs were badly cut.
“Every one of her legs had cuts on it.
“Some of the lacerations were so bad they couldn’t be stitched.
“We had to leave them open because we were frightened of infection.
“It took several months from my staff to do a wonderful job of looking after her.
“They were changing the dressing every day or every second day.
“Here we are back at the races with her.”
Webster concedes it will be an emotional victory if Crystal Valley scored second-up in the Iron Jack Handicap at Ascot on Saturday.
He’s sure she will she run a competitive race, but as a winning prospect he is concerned the 1400m might prove to be her Achilles heel.
“I don’t know, but I think the 1400m will be a little too short for her,” Webster said.
“But she is fit and well and in a good space at the moment.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if she ran a nice race.”
Webster also says Zenaze is consistent, but runs into a smart one in This’ll Testya.
Meanwhile, Undisclosed is almost certain to back-up in a 1000m event after an eye-catching second to Essential Spice on Wednesday.