Racing Groups Pay Tribute to Late Australian Racing Hall of Famer

GOLD COAST, Queensland – Several racing organisations in Australia have expressed their sympathies and condolences to William Smith and his family. Smith passed away this week on the Gold Coast at the age of 92 years old, based on the news posted online by Australian horse racing news and information website, Racenet.

 Martin Talty is the chief executive officer of the Australian Jockeys Association (AJA). Learning about Smith’s death, he remarked that the oldest surviving Melbourne Cup-winning jockey was a highly successful and respected sportsman. Talty said that Smith had accomplished at the highest level. On behalf of all the jockeys of Australia, the AJA head has offered his deepest sympathies to the late horseman’s loved ones at this time of mourning.

Giles Thompson paid tribute to the multi-prize-winning jockey’s legacy. He described Smith as a sportsman par excellence who witnessed victory all across the Australian and global racetracks. Additionally, the Racing Victoria head shared that the late jockey’s achievements in the saddle would never be forgotten via his affiliation to the Australian Racing Hall of Fame. Similar to Talty, Thompson extended his group’s sincere prayers and support to Smith’s friends and family members on behalf of the Victorian horse racing industry.

William Arthur Smith was a highly respected jockey born in 1928 at Ballarat, Victoria. When he was still a rising horseman, he was a natural lightweight. Smith’s best victory was aboard Air Marshall, the Lou Robertson-trained racehorse at 100-1. He took part with this runner in the VRC Standish Handicap in 1947, which the Victoria Racing Club hosted.

Following his triumphant stint in New Zealand, bagging wins in five jockeys’ premierships and three Derbies, Smith went back to Melbourne. He joined the 1960 carnival. Plus, he took part in the Centenary Melbourne Cup aboard the 50-1 chance racehorse named Hi Jinx. In seasons 1960 to 1961, Smith was Melbourne’s premier horseman. He bagged victories in all the major Cup competitions. These important horse races include the 1961 Caulfield Cup, the 1962 Perth Cup, the 1963 Sydney Cup, and the 1968 Brisbane Cup.

Smith retired in 1980 and had been residing on the Gold Coast. He relished spending moments with the 1940s and ’50s wrestler Robert Esmond “Wallaby Bob” McMaster. The latter was Smith’s friend who was also a wrestling referee and professional rugby league footballer. The then retired Smith reportedly served as McMaster’s guide. The late jockey also reportedly enjoyed spending time in Mudgeeraba’s Wallaby Hotel and the Benowa Tavern’s bar. In 2018, Smith got inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame. He received this honour following his career in the saddle spanning over forty years.

Smith’s wife, Desley, and daughter Karren Ryan survived him. Together, they issued a joint statement this week to honour their beloved spouse and father. The Smiths remarked that their late head of the family was an incredible man who had led an incredible existence. Desley and Karren cited that Smith accomplished a lot when he was still alive and that he shared his victories to people near and dear to him. Smith’s family also relayed that the departed sportsman had never lost sight of the essential people in his life, which was his family.

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