Craig Williams will renew his association with Melbourne Cup winner Dunaden in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot this weekend.
Mikel Delzangles’ six-year-old, who also won the Hong Kong Vase under Williams, met plenty of trouble in running when second in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot.
With regular jockey Christophe Lemaire likely to be claimed to ride for his retained owner the Aga Khan later in the season, owner Sheikh Fahad Al Thani thought it best to secure the services of someone who can commit to his horse, despite Williams living in Australia.
“Basically, Sheikh Fahad decided that whoever was to ride the horse in the Arc was to ride him in all his races between now and then, which almost definitely ruled out Christophe,” racing manager David Redvers told At The Races.
“Craig has won his only two starts on the horse, he knows him well and was prepared to make the sacrifice and commitment to come all the way from Australia to ride the horse whenever he ran.
“He rode Ortensia at Royal Ascot and Cay Verde for us and spent a lot of time with Mick Channon and knows the tracks well.
“Craig is an extraordinary jockey. He’s a little bit like a Flat equivalent of AP (McCoy) in that I expect he makes an incredibly boring husband as he comes home and pours over videos after videos.
“It was interesting when he rode Cay Verde for us, he’d watched the videos of every other horse in the race.
“He’s so incredibly thorough that I’m sure the fact he hasn’t been riding regularly here for a few years will not make any difference, he’ll have done his homework.
“When he lands here Friday morning. his footprints will be all over Ascot until the race – there’s no more thorough a jockey at walking courses as well.
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again no doubt, he’s just the horse of a lifetime. He tries his guts out and he desperately wants to win – he actually seems to know what’s going on.”