Photo credit: Mike Mills
By Jordan Gerrans
From driving a bulldozer in an open cut mine during night shift to preparing a classy country galloper on Tattersall’s Tiara Race day at Eagle Farm.
That is exactly what Emerald horseman Raymond Williams is working towards completing later this month in the $200,000 Final of the TAB Battle of the Bush series.
The Williams team, which consists of eight horses, have long identified sprinter Ahwahneechee as a leading BOTB hopeful.
He was run down in the closing stages of the Emerald qualifier on his home track last month and now heads to Barcaldine this Saturday to book his spot for the decider.
“Since we got him basically, we have been thinking Battle of the Bush with him, that has always been the ultimate goal,” Williams said.
“We gave him all his runs in the bush at the non-TABs so he got enough runs to be eligible, out to Thangool and a few other places.
“I think he would be very competitive if he is to make it to the Final.
“To get the chance to go to town and play with the big boys of racing, we do not get opportunities like that every day around our country area.
“The prize money in the Battle of the Bush, the trip is worthwhile, that is for sure.”
The Williams barn are no strangers to having starters in town either, qualifying Hayyler’s Tary for the Country Stampede Final last year.
Like the majority of regional Queensland trainers, Williams juggles work commitments on top of his duties down at the stables.
A shift worker, Williams is in the mines around Emerald driving graders and bulldozers in an open cut mine.
When his shifts overlap with the usual time he would work his horses, Williams’ partner and connections of Ahwanneechee chip in to get the job done.
“It is hard, we have been doing it for a lot of years now but we get by,” he said.
“We usually have six in work, but we now have eight, Ahwanneechee will probably head for a break after the Battle of the Bush Final if we can get there.”