News Sports

VALE William “Billy” Smith Melbourne Cup winning hero

Ballarat-bred William ‘Billy’ Smith, who was the oldest surviving Melbourne Cup-winning jockey, has passed away on the Gold Coast, aged 92. Smith was inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2018 after a career in the saddle that spanned more than four decades.His loving wife Desley Smith and his daughter Karren Ryan issued…

Ballarat-bred William ‘Billy’ Smith, who was the oldest surviving Melbourne Cup-winning jockey, has passed away on the Gold Coast, aged 92.

Smith was inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2018 after a career in the saddle that spanned more than four decades.

His loving wife Desley Smith and his daughter Karren Ryan issued a joint statement on Friday to honour their father and husband.

“An incredible life, an incredible man,” they said. “He achieved it all, and gave so much to those around him, never losing sight of the most important people in his life — his family.”

As a natural lightweight, Smith’s best win as an apprentice was on the Lou Robertson-trained horse, Air Marshall, at 100-1 in the 1947 VRC Standish Handicap.

After a successful stint in New Zealand, winning three Derbies and five jockeys’ premierships, Smith returned to Melbourne for the 1960 carnival and the centenary Melbourne Cup on the 50-1 chance High Jinx.

He was Melbourne’s premier jockey in season 1960-61.

He won all the major Cup races, including the Caulfield Cup (1961), Perth Cup (1962), Sydney Cup (1963) and the Brisbane Cup (1968).

Living on the Gold Coast since retiring in 1980, Smith enjoyed spending time behind the bar at the Benowa Tavern and at the Wallaby Hotel in Mudgeeraba, providing tips for friend “Wallaby Bob” McMaster.

Racing Victoria chief executive Giles Thompson paid tribute to Smith’s legacy.

“On behalf of the Victorian racing industry, I would like to extend our heartfelt prayers and condolences to Billy’s family and friends following the sad news of his passing,” Thompson said.

“Billy was an outstanding jockey who saw success all across Australian and international racetracks and his achievements in the saddle will long be remembered through his membership of the Australian Racing Hall of Fame.”

Australian Jockeys Association chief executive Martin Talty said: “Billy was a highly respected and successful jockey who achieved at the highest level. On behalf of Australia’s jockeys, we pass on our deepest sympathies to Billy’s family at this sad time.”

About the author

cvxgBWcuFA

Leave a Comment