Williams positive despite sacking
Champion jockey Craig Williams remains positive about the spring despite losing an appeal to ride in the Caulfield Cup and being sacked as the stable rider for David Hayes.
Hayes said he had lost confidence in Williams who he described as a freelance rider after knocking back 20 stable rides in the past two weeks.
Jockey manager Mark Guest said Williams was initially disappointed that Hayes had ended the four-year partnership but he was now looking forward to a new chapter in his career.
However Williams won’t ride again until Geelong Cup day on Wednesday week after the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board on Monday dismissed his appeal against the severity of a 10-meeting suspension for careless riding on Maldivian in the Turnbull Stakes at Flemington on October 3.
Williams was booked to ride the Danny O’Brien-trained Makybe Diva Stakes winner Vigor in Saturday’s Caulfield Cup but with his suspension the ride was reassigned to Corey Brown.
Hayes acknowledged his partnership with Williams had been a great success but it was no longer working and it was time to move on.
"I lost a lot of confidence and if you are a footy coach and your centreman is not getting kicks you are entitled to change him," Hayes said.
"I think Craig will do very well and continue to ride a lot of winners and I will probably continue to train a lot of winners but it wasn’t working for us."
"Basically Craig has been riding freelance the last 12 months and to prove that I have offered him 23 rides in the last two weeks and he has accepted three," Hayes said.
"I don’t think it (the split) changes his business much and it certainly won’t change mine.
"It is no big deal."
Last spring Hayes encouraged Williams to take outside rides when some stable clients were against him riding their horses.
Williams has won the past four Melbourne jockey premierships and four Scobie Breasley Medals.
Hayes won Melbourne’s trainers premiership in 2006-07 and 2007-08 but last season Lee Freedman ended his winning run, beating him by one win.
The season also featured three Group One wins for the Williams and Hayes combination with Niconero (Futurity Stakes and Australian Cup) and Nicconi (The Galaxy).
Guest said Williams was now looking forward to trying to win next week’s Geelong Cup for a fourth time while his Cox Plate Day engagements include three-year-old Manhattan Rain in the feature, Ista Kareem in the Group Two Moonee Valley Cup and Ortensia in the Group Two Schweppes Stakes.
By Robert Windmill