Bill Williamson Australian Jockey

Bill Williamson

Bill Williamson International Champion Jockey

One of the great all-time jockeys in Australia also proved his capabilities in other countries during the 1950’s and ’60s.

We are referring to the Melbourne native Bill Williamson. (19 December 1922-28 January 1979) Bill Williamson

Bill Williamson: Australian Jockey

Not much for academics, Williamson abandoned education at the tender age of fourteen to become an apprentice jockey for his uncle, F.H. Lewis.

Strong Family Ties

This branch of the family had strong ties to horse racing with another family member who was a trainer and another who was a jockey of considerable renown, Bobby Lewis, the four time Melbourne Cup winner.

Bill Williamson left his uncle to ride for Jack Hot’s operation. It was whilst riding for this organization that he won for the first time in 1937 at Epsom. In 1942, World War II temporarily interrupted his career until near the end of 1944.

Marriage For Bill Williamson In 1949

Bill Williamson was the champion jockey of Victoria for the 1951-52 season, when he won the jockey premiership, along with notching his first and only Melbourne Cup victory when her rode Dalray to the post in 1952.

He nearly repeated in 1955 whilst riding Rising Fast even though that great champion had been burdened with 63.5 kg, surpassing even that given to Phar Lap in the 1930 Cup.

More than a few racing fans on that occasion protested that Neville Sellwood and his horse, Toporoa, had interfered with Williamson and Rising Fast.

Williamson never lodged a formal protest, but Cup stewards thought there was sufficient evidence to suspend Sellwood for his actions in the race.

Williamson And Sellwood

Bill Williamson and Sellwood went head-to-head on many occasions.

Other significant jockeys that ran against Williamson were Jack Purtrell and a Scobie Breasley that was reaching the conclusion of his racing days before moving into training and giving Williamson a job riding for him.

1953 saw Williamson winning the W.S. Cox Plate and the Brisbane Cup. He also established a Victorian record with 67 ½ wins for that season. Along the way, he added an Australian Cup, Williamstown, Moonee Valley and Adelaide Cups. He added 9 Melbourne Jockeys premierships to his resume in this period betwixt 1951 and 1960.

Bill Williamson missed nine months of riding due to a serious fall he experienced when he was trying his fortune in England and Ireland. He did experience some success abroad, winning the 1000 Guineas twice, the first aboard Abermaid in 1962 and the second whilst steering Night Off in 1965.

He performed well in France as well, winning the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in 1968 and 1969, in the process besting legendary fellow jockey Lester Piggott.

His sojourns into the northern hemisphere provided him with 13 major victories spread across Ireland, England and France.

High praise came to him for beating Piggott, who declared Williamson as the best jockey in the world in light of the fact that Piggott was riding the favoured thoroughbred on both occasions where he was beaten by Williamson.

Billi Wiliamson Riding Style

Bill Williamson was known for a riding style where his preferred tactic was to let others set the pace whilst he saved his mount for the final sprint. He was also known for making riding look effortless.

Bill Williamson retired from riding in 1973 and then spent four years managing the racing operation of Ravi Tikkoo.

He then returned to Melbourne and died two years later in 1970 from cancer after devoting almost 40 years to the sport of horse racing. He was inducted with the third class of jockeys into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2003.