In 1955 a brown filly made an inauspicious debut into the world. There was nothing flash about the youngster who was by the imported Irish stallion Rego out of Sweet Nymph. In fact she was one of the bargain buys of the Australian turf – sold for just 360 guineas or about $730. That sum of $730 looked dear when she was involved in a paddock accident with a barbwire fence as a yearling. She was destined never to grace a racetrack – she was to be put aside to grow and become a broodmare in later life.
The little filly and Mother Nature worked together to heal her injuries and her owner, a Bill Godby, liked watching her classy walk as he watched her from behind. Her rump, he said, wiggled like Marilyn Monroe’s in the movie “The Seven Year Itch”, according to the owner, so he submitted and received the name “Wiggle” for his filly.
Wiggle was sent to the Sydney stables of Ron Shirtliff to see if her injuries from her encounter with the barb wire fence would prove too much to overcome. Wiggle never had any further injuries attributable to her early set back in life and proceeded to win four 2YO races straight in Sydney – culminating in a great victory in the Champagne Stakes (then run over 1200 metres). Wiggle was sadly ineligible to contest the Golden Slipper of her 2YO year, as her sire Rego had not been paid up to have his progeny start.
At this precise time, two of the champions of the Australian turf were taken out of play. Both Tulloch and Todman would not contest the Brisbane Winter Carnival. Tulloch had won the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick on the 12th April 1958 and now had a stomach virus which would leave him fighting for his life.
The owner and trainer of Wiggle had decided to send her to Brisbane and she was thrown in at the deep end in the Lightning Stakes at Eagle Farm. She drowned in the deep end and finished 6th. However the decision was made to soldier on to the Stradbroke and another factor that worked against the baby of the field was that the Stradbroke had been a 1200 metre race until 1952 when it was changed to a 1400 metre distance. But Wiggle couldn’t read form guides and proceeded to win that Stradbroke handicap easily from top racehorse Yahabeebee by a couple of lengths with a further couple of lengths to third placed dead heaters of Grifite and Duchesene.
Returning home to spell, she was put back into work as a 3YO. She stepped out and won the Hobartville Stakes in Sydney and was then taken to Melbourne where she won the Caulfield Guineas, Edward Manifold and the Linlithgow Stakes. In 1959 she won another four features in a row – namely the Queen’s Plate, C.M. Lloyd Stakes, Kewney Stakes and the Alister Clark Stakes.
Such was her imposing record on the racetrack in Australia, she was eventually leased to American owners. Wiggle didn’t let the Aussie industry down when she went to American, as she won six races – ran ten placings – and broke two track records.
The first race meeting at Eagle Farm was held in August 1865. The first Stradbroke was run in 1890. What an extraordinary feat it is that just one 2YO – a $730 yearling who got caught up in a fence - could remain the sole 2YO winner of that race over it’s 114 year history.
The owner liked looking at her from behind. Out on the racetrack many of this country’s top gallopers had no option but to check out her rump – as one after the other they tried in vain to run her down.