Retiring in 1994 as the richest pacing gelding in the world at the age of 13, Village Kid will long be remembered as the modern-day Mount Eden, wowing harness racing fans for the best part of a decade.
Bred in New Zealand by Gramatan out of the Regal Yankee mare Totara Valley, Village Kid raced as a three year old in New Zealand with only minor successes.
Prominent Western Australian horseman and butcher Bill Horn, who had had previous grand circuit success with the brilliant Black Irish, made an astute decision to purchase the gelding from his New Zealand owners, in partnership with George and Cecilia Cox. The price of a little under $AUD35,000 would have seemed like something of a risk at the time. Horn's association with top Perth farrier Dudley Anderson was important at this time as the horse had a habit of knocking his knees in races. Anderson's claim that he could fix the issue were accuarte, and Village Kid began his Australian racing career as a four-year-old.
After an early success in a provincial race a fellow track watcher declared that Village Kid "would not win another race". After convincing top Perth reinsman Chris Lewis that he had the best four-year-old in the state, Horn aimed Willy at the Western Australian Pacing Cup. Considered out of his depth against the current fast class ranks, and up against the then star of Australian Pacing Preux Chevalier, Village Kid raced his way to the 1985 final. Getting a cosy run behind the leading Preux Chevalier, Village Kid got clear in the straight to run last the champ, winning the first of four WA Pacing Cups.
After the giant killing performance in the WA Pacing Cup Willy headed to the Interdominion. A tall order for an inexperienced four-year-old Horn and Lewis nursed the Kid through the heats to qualify for the final. This time Preux Chevalier turned the table on the budding super-star to win from Village kid, unlucky to not get a run in the straight.
After a well-earned spell Village Kid resumed racing at Gloucester Park with a vengeance. For the most part, the West Aussie champ was practically unbeatable in his third full season of racing. With a string of fast class wins in Perth to his credit, Village Kid ventured east for a crack at the 1986 Miracle Mile. With other wins in the AG Hunter Cup and the WA Pacing Cup, Village Kid lead all-the-way in the Miracle Mile, scorching around Harold Park in 1:56.7, the second fastest time in the history of the race. Rated perfectly by Lewis, Willy easily accounted for a star field including My Lighting Blue, Whirley Dram and fellow West Australian Jay Bee's Fella.
In the 1986 Interdominion series in Brisbane Village Kid was near on invincible. Unbeaten in the heats, running at track record pace in all of his heats, The Kid led all the way, blitzing a star group of pacers in the final rating a staggering 1:55.5 for the 2100 meters. Of the beaten brigade were outstanding pacers Vanderport, Line On, Master Mood, Gosh and Bag Limit.
Heading home for a rest after his grand circuit campaign Village Kid returned to racing...
One horse has stood out however. Village Kid won four WA Cups to go with nine other Group One wins on his way to Australian Record earnings of $2,117,870. He ranked as the World's Richest Pacing Gelding and, at the age of 13, he set a world Record for a horse of his age when he time trialed in 1:55.1. Village Kid attracted fans to the track like no other horse since the great Mount Eden. The longevity of his race track career contributed to this, as did his period of dominance of Australian harness racing.