William "Billy" Pyers Jockey
William Pyers: Australian Jockey Utilising superb techniques with his hands and heels. With an intuitive grasp of pace and his competitors made a jockey by the name of William “Billy” Pyers.
Pyers was one with whom to be reckoned when he burst out of Adelaide during the late 30s to so dominate that city’s flat racing scene that he was seven times the top Adelaide jockey well before he attained 30 years of age.
William Pyers was to pause in that achievement for a short time before returning to triumph again in both the 1959-60 and the 1960-61 seasons. Known to the racing public as “Ginger Meggs” for his unruly red hair and freckles, he was a great favourite for his definitive extroversion and contagious enthusiasm.
He by no means limited his achievements to South Australia. He was successful in the other states that succeeded in attracting him. His list of major victories includes a Caulfield Cup that he won steering Sometime, the Moonee Valley Cup, an Oakleigh Plate, and the Golden Slipper Stakes courtesy of Pago Pago, the Futurity Stakes and the Newmarket Handicap.
In his home state, he was to be seen in the winners’ circle on no fewer than seven occasions at the conclusion of the S.A. Oaks. William Pyers was chosen to do the jockey duties when Tulloch graced Adelaide for his singular foray to that region where the two combined for victory in the S.J. Pullman Select Stakes.
Hayes Declares Billy Pyers Best Jockey
One of his employers, trainer Colin Hayes, pronounced Billy Pyers one of the best jockeys he had ever had the pleasure for which to prepare horses. With enviable results to his credit, Billy Pyers in 1964 decided it was time to share his talents with Europe. Trainer Ernie Fellows there offered him honest work riding Baldric and they two together produced a prompt and expeditious victory in the 2000 Guineas.
Owners such as Daniel Wildenstein and the Aga Khan also eagerly enlisted his abilities. Pyers also went to the United States to labour for owner Nelson Hunt. It was there where Pyers formed an association win a filly named Dahlia that Pyers was to say was the greatest horse that he had ever run across.
That opinion did nothing than assist William Pyers in steering Hunt’s champion filly to a win in Washington D.C.’s 1973 Laurel Park International. On the continent of Europe, he would win prestigious races in abundance.
William Pyers twice won the George VI Stakes, two times the Queen Elizabeth Stakes, the French Derby, the Irish Oaks, the Ascot Gold Cup and France’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, and a Doncaster Gold Cup. Pyers also notched wins on more than one occasion in Germany, Sweden and Italy. Along with the adulation of the racing public, Pyers’s peers had great respect for him as well.
His friend and competitor Ron Hutchinson, a fellow Australian Racing Hall of Fame jockey, considered him a close friend.
William Pyers Inducted In To Hall Of Fame 2010
William Pyers eventually returned to his homeland, where he died in 2004 at the age of 71. He was inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2010.