Williams in Cup seventh heaven with McNeil

Warwick Barr
·1-min read

It seems Lloyd Williams isn't just an outstanding judge of horseflesh when it comes to sourcing Melbourne Cup winners.

The Melbourne Cup's most successful owner can now add jockey talent spotter to the list of everything he has achieved in racing.

Williams backed his opinion of Jye McNeil by giving the 25-year-old jockey the Melbourne Cup ride on Twilight Payment.

And, as with most things Williams does at Melbourne Cup time, the move was a masterstroke.

Riding in his first Melbourne Cup, McNeil executed his job to perfection to give Williams his seventh win in the race.

It wasn't an attractive ride but anything more may have done a disservice to his mount who won Australia's greatest race the hard way after taking up the running.

"Dad said, 'I've booked Jye McNeil for Twilight Payment, he is the best young jockey in this country'," Williams' son Nick said.

"Dad's a genius and his view was right, the ride won the race and he rode it exactly as Joseph told him to.

"You've got to get it right when you ride like that in front. It wasn't a pretty ride but none of the great European jockeys could have ridden him any better."

McNeil has long been earmarked for stardom in the saddle and pinching the Melbourne Cup with one of bravest rides in the race's long history seems certain to fast-track his rise to the top.

"To be able to get the opportunity from the Williams family to partner Twilight Payment today - not only them, but also Joseph O'Brien, who's done a fantastic job preparing him, it's very overwhelming," McNeil said.