By Jordan Gerrans
When it comes to racing in the bush, Charleville’s William Pugsley is a jack of all trades.
In his many decades in the industry, the man they call “Pugs” in the Downs Country Racing Association, has called the races, he has trained winners, he has strapped as well as taking wagers in the betting ring.
“I am a jack of all trades and master of none,” Pugsley said with a laugh as he prepared to drive towards Brisbane on Thursday morning.
After fulfilling countless roles within racing, the 60-year-old is in a training phase of his passion and has been for the last three years.
Pugsley trained for three decades before having a break while his work and family commitments increased, but has been back around the stables more the last three years.
He has quickly found a smart one, with bay gelding Tourmaster winning four times in the back end of 2021, on top of running second in a Country Stampede qualifier at Barcaldine in late October.
That was enough to land him in this Saturday’s Final at Doomben – which will be worth $75,000 and run over 1100 metres – and to have a starter on a Metropolitan day in the 2021-22 TAB Queensland Summer Racing Carnival is something the larrikin had long been eager to do.
“This is a dream come true for me,” Pugsley said.
“A friend of mine bought this horse and his son was involved too and I said, 'why don’t we have a crack at qualifying him for the Stampede?'
“If I had drawn an alley in the Final, I would have been a lot more confident.
“It is a hot field but he likes he trip and the wet and if Taylor can get him a nice run up on the speed, you never know.
“Dreams are made to come true aren’t they.”
Owner Daniel Twist purchased the five-year-old, who was previously trained by Bjorn Baker and Stuart Kendrick earlier in his career, online for just under $10,000.
Pugsley made his name in the bush as a race caller at tracks such as Charleville and Cunnamulla almost 40 years ago.
He gave it away some 36 years ago – handing the callers binoculars to Brett Moody – before coming out of retirement for a one-off appearance at Cunnamulla earlier this year.
“I had a go and everyone said how well I went,” he said.