Williams Takes Premiership Lead At Valley

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Spurred on by the chance to claim a seventh Melbourne jockeys' premiership, has regained the lead in this season's title race after a winning double at .

Williams started Wednesday's meeting one win behind who was not riding at the meeting and will also miss Saturday's meeting at .

Williams drew level in the opening race with victory aboard the Shea Eden-trained two-year-old filly Bright Eyes and then added another on three-year-old filly Jungle Queen.

The reigning premier rider in Melbourne said it was great competition again this season with Lane a formidable challenger.

“But luckily for me he's given me a couple of free kicks as he's gone over to celebrate (fellow ) 's wedding in America,” Williams said.

The one-length win of Jungle Queen ($5.50) in the Woodside Park Stud Handicap (1000m) was significant for Wangaratta trainer Christopher Davis who celebrated his first metropolitan winner.

“We've always thought she's a little bit better than bush class,” Davis said.

Apprentice is five wins behind Williams in third in the jockeys' premiership on 44 wins and added to his tally on the -trained Hectopascal in the Ladbrokes Odds Boost Handicap.

“I've hit a bit of a flat spot of late but it was good to get another winner,” Brown said.

also achieved a milestone at the meeting, with her win on $3.50 favourite Belwazi in the Sheamus Mills Bloodstock Handicap (1000m) bringing up 19-year-old apprentice's 100th career winner.

“I felt like I've been stuck on 99 for a couple of weeks now so it's great to get the monkey off the back,” Thornton said.

“It's a great milestone for me and hopefully now with another city winner I can keep the momentum going.”

Thornton did keep the momentum going, guiding Nordic Empire to a front-running win in the next race, the Mittys Handicap (1200m), taking her tally of city winners in Melbourne this season to 24.

Nordic Empire ($4), who had won at earlier this month at his most recent start, opened up a winning break around the home turn and scored by 1-1/2-lengths over $3.10 favourite Demolition.

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