iskander

Williams prepares to defend world title


Craig Williams is in stellar form as he prepares to defend his title in the World Super Jockey Series in Japan.

Craig Williams He has ridden eight winners in eight days and has finished second on another nine occasions, fourth three times and fifth twice.

Williams said he was happy with his form and he was looking forward to competing in his third World Super Jockey Series at Hanshin Racecourse, just outside Osaka, on December 6 and 7.

"It was a big thrill to win it last year and hopefully I can do well again," Williams said.

Williams rode a treble at Sandown on Saturday including Eskimo Dan who landed the feature race of the day, the Listed Eclipse Stakes (2100m).

He was also successful on the well bred three-year-old filly Zavana, who is a half sister to 2003 Cox Plate winner Savabeel, and Silky Smooth.

He also rode a winning treble at last Wednesday’s Ballarat Cup meeting.

"I am riding consistently at the moment," Williams said.

Williams has won both the Melbourne Jockeys Premiership and the Scobie Breasley Medal the last three years but had a comparatively lean spring carnival with the David Hayes stable.

His season tally in Melbourne has climbed to 22 winners, just two behind Damien Oliver (24).

While regarded as the stable rider for Hayes, Williams has in recent weeks taken more outside rides.

Millionaire owners John Messara, Tim Hughes, Michael Sullivan and Scott Perrin were among those to advise Hayes earlier this spring they would prefer Williams rode only some, or none, of their horses.

Significantly his Sandown winners Zavana and Silky Smooth were both trained by Hayes who insists he still supports Williams.

Williams said that after the World Jockey Series he would have an early Christmas with his wife Larysa and holiday with her family in the Ukraine for 10 days.

Fellow Melbourne jockey Damien Oliver will also be on representative duties over the next three weeks.

Oliver will join Frankie Dettori, Darryll Holland, Mick Kinane, Christophe Soumillon and Mallesh Narredu in a four-race challenge against South Africa’s best at Turffontein next Saturday.

He will then ride in Mauritius before heading to the international meeting in Hong Kong on December 14.

By Robert Windmill