Jockey Craig WIlliams aims for third PB Lawrence Stakes victory

Craig Williams will be shooting for a third win in the Group 2 PB Lawrence Stakes at Caulfield when he partners Mr Brightside in the 1400m contest on Saturday.

Mr Brightside and Williams shared the spotlight 12 months ago while the jockey’s first win in the weight-for-age contest came aboard Hartnell in 2017.

The Hartnell victory taught Williams a valuable lesson, one that he rarely sidesteps in his preparations on race day.

Williams has always been charitable with his time as evidenced by his ongoing commitment to the Ukranian people in their fight with Russia.

Back in 2017, Williams was asked for his time in the lead up to the Lawrence Stakes but behind the barriers he found to his horror he did not have the same vest on that he weighed out in to ride Hartnell.

If successful, Hartnell would have weighed in light, so Williams delved into a nearby farriers’ bag to get some tools that he rode with in his boots.

Hartnell duly scored, but Williams weighed in overweight and was subsequently fined $2000 by Racing Victoria Stewards.

The penalty may sound harsh, but it could have been a lot heftier had Williams not realised while it would also have cost punters who had supported the $2.80 favourite that day.

“Once I put myself in that position and I realised, the most important thing was to make sure the horse would not be disqualified,” Williams said.

“What happened that day was a charitable approach and regardless my practices don’t change on race day anymore, even if it is for a greater good than horse racing.

“But I did learn a valuable lesson from that situation.”

Six years on and Williams is looking forward to again partnering Mr Brightside having ridden the gelding in nine of his 11 victories.

He missed the gelding’s last two wins – the All-Star Mile and a second Doncaster – through injury.

Williams was aboard Mr Brightside in his two jump-outs at Flemington in preparation for Saturday’s return and said he is a completely different horse to the one he rode 12 months ago.

“Comparing him to 12 months ago, he’s a completely different horse but he’s no different in his physique as to where he started off his last preparation when he won the All Star Mile and the Doncaster,” Williams said.

“He’s starting off a good base and all I can report in difference from his last preparation is that he is now a lot calmer.

“I’m really happy with him going there because sometimes he can be a little bit fresh when he starts his preparations off.

“If his training group wish to race over further than 1600 metres, I think they will be rewarded this time in the way that he feels to me.”

About RS NewsWire

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