Trackwork Boost For Title-Chasing Williams

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Craig Williams

Craig Williams has his sights set on another Melbourne jockeys’ premiership and is banking on a return to trackwork to increase his chances.

Waking up early is what Williams is hoping will get his eye in while improving his fitness.

“I was personally delighted to get up and ride trackwork again,” Williams said.

“When you look at what is going on globally, that was our sacrifice.

“We had a lot of challenges, like everyone one else in society, but we were lucky that racing kept going.”

Last week Williams and 19 of his fellow jockeys were allowed to resume riding trackwork after sitting out that part of their work schedule since March because of coronavirus protocols.

The group of jockeys made the sacrifice to allow Victorian racing to continue, removing themselves from trackwork duties and trials, including jump-outs while isolating themselves as much as possible.

It hurt some who found metropolitan opportunities dry up, forcing them bush for weekend rides.

With eight premierships to his credit, Williams leads 10-time winner Damien Oliver by five winners with 11 meetings remaining for the season.

Oliver is one title shy of Roy Higgins’ record 11 premierships and after his victory aboard Iconic Star at The Valley on Saturday is within sight of another title.

“I think the fact that the minimum is 56 kilos gives me a bit of a chance this year,” Oliver said.

“Normally we’re working off a 54 minimum, so I can lose a quarter of my rides over the winter when it is hard for me to get that weight.

“So it makes it a bit more appealing and we’ll give it a crack.”

Williams has no such issues and used a different regime to keep his body in check when asked to stop riding outside of race days.

Before jump-outs returned last month, Williams resorted to more stretching in his workouts and made the decision to ride at more meetings than he normally would at this time of year.

Williams, with five rides, and Oliver four, continue their premiership battle at Sandown on Wednesday.

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