By PATRICK BARTLEY

Leading Australian jockey Craig Williams left Royal Ascot racecourse this weekend feeling like a number of AFL players do when they try something different in their bid for success.

  

Williams is the talk of the racing world after he chose to navigate a unique yet controversial course on arguably the world’s best sprinter Brazen Beau in Saturday night’s Diamond Jubilee.

We see footballers attempt unusual dribble kicks when most maintain an old-fashioned drop punt is all that is required..

Leading Australian jockey Craig Williams left Royal Ascot racecourse this weekend feeling like a number of AFL players do when they try something different in their bid for success.

Williams is the talk of the racing world after he chose to navigate a unique yet controversial course on arguably the world’s best sprinter Brazen Beau in Saturday night’s Diamond Jubilee.
  

We see footballers attempt unusual dribble kicks when most maintain an old-fashioned drop punt is all that is required..

They look like heroes when the ball sails through the middle but like dunces if they miss.

Track walking has become a science in Australia and Williams has been at the forefront of looking at tracks thoroughly before a meeting.

Williams believed the outside section of the track at Ascot was superior and made a beeline for that portion of grass.

It was a calculated gamble. However, when Brazen Beau speared out to a virgin strip of grass the locals were rightfully questioning Williams’ motives.

The premiership-winning Australian jockey is an outsider and those that use the track regularly were confounded by Williams’ move.

Brazen Beau was beaten on the line by a 14-1 outsider Undrafted.

He told trainer Chris Waller before the race that he had a strategy that would help the raceday favourite no end and Sydney’s premier horseman agreed.

Being a genuine sportsman Waller remained strong the next morning accepting what Williams had done was in the best interests of the horse and at no stage would he let his disappointment cloud his judgment about Williams’ ride.

But for punters in Australia it was a bitter pill.

The main level of criticism was that Brazen Beau was going to the outside of the track on his own, a move that some of the former great jockeys of Australia maintain is perilous.

The late Roy Higgins once said: “Not even some of the biggest sprinters I’ve ever ridden can go to the outside rail by themselves and still win. They could even be champion sprinters but they’re just not trained to be on their own.

“It doesn’t matter how inferior the horse that goes with you is it’s supplying a mate and puts your mount at ease that horses are all around you.

“I know there are the exceptions, but the younger the horse the more difficult it is,” Higgins said in the 1970s.

Track bias is indeed a significant platform when assessing a winner.

And Williams believed that his radical move would significantly strengthen his mount’s chances of English success.

The racing media of England are still wailing about the ride of Luke Nolen on Black Caviar when he dropped his hands in the closing stages of her victorious effort in England.

But what saved Nolen being able to return to Australia in one piece was that he won, Williams didn’t.

Track watching has made some professional punters very rich, but it’s not an exact science. While Williams will wear the criticism this week he may think twice about such a radical move so far from home.