Still riding high after his first Melbourne Cup success, jockey Craig Williams scored another big thrill by winning the Subzero Handicap for good friends.
Williams guided favourite Bumper Blast to victory in the annual VRC Oaks day race named after Cup winner Subzero for the grey’s owners, Hong Kong-based David Price and Jenny Chapman.
“I’m like family to them,” Williams said.
“They took me under their wing when I was in Hong Kong.
“It gives me a big thrill to do it for family and friends.”
While the $125,000 Subzero Handicap is a far cry from the $8 million Melbourne Cup he won on Tuesday aboard the all-Australian Vow And Declare, Williams was talking up the grey horses-only race named after a “superstar”.
“We always joke in the jockeys’ room ‘just follow the grey one, the grey one’s going to win’. It’s fantastic.”
Williams is just the eighth jockey to claim Australian racing’s “big four” of the Melbourne and Caulfield Cups, Cox Plate and Golden Slipper.
Bumper Blast’s trainer Robert Hickmott is no stranger to Melbourne Cup success himself, having trained two of owner Lloyd Williams’ six Cup winners before branching out on is own.
“The greys race, it mightn’t be the highest calibre but to still do it is a great performance and fantastic for David Price and Jenny Chapman there in Hong Kong,” Hickmott said.
Subzero, the 1992 Melbourne Cup winner, made an appearance in the mounting yard before the race after recovering from a recent health scare.
His owner and constant companion Graham Salisbury, who rode Subzero as his clerk of the course mount for many years before the gelding became a racing ambassador, said the 31-year-old is “great”.
“We had a bit of a scare three months ago,” Salisbury said.
“He was in the Bendigo Equine Hospital and they looked after him very well. If not for them we would have lost him.”