Tubba Williams chasing a breakthrough win at Tottenham

Anthony ‘Tubba’ Williams. Image: Newgate Stud Farm.

You don’t have to tell Anthony ‘Tubba’ Williams that he’s 46 years between drinks; he knows and is desperate to get back into the winner’s circle.

During that time, he rode in some point-to-point races in England, but the 63-year-old landed his last official winner at Swan Hill in February of 1978.

Following a return to the racing saddle late last year, the Scone-based amateur jockey will travel to Tottenham on Saturday, keen to ride a winner or two. 

“I love doing it, and I’m really enjoying it; I’ve got to admit, I didn’t realise how much I was going to enjoy it,” Williams told NSW Country and Picnic Racing when asked about his return to race riding. 

“I’m desperate to ride a winner. I hope it’s at Tottenham. 

“I came back and rode at Bong Bong last year, and then went to Bedgerabong and Condobolin and finished second, third and fourth there.”

Williams created a media storm when he returned to the saddle at Bong Bong, but it wasn’t because he was 62 years young. 

Most stories focused on the fact that he dropped from 100kg to 63kg, stripping more than a third of his body weight in a bid to fulfil his dream of race riding again. 

“I didn’t want to be 70 and say I should have done it,” Williams said. 

“Will I ride forever? No, I’m 63, but I thought now was as good a time as any to do it. 

“I needed to drop a lot of weight, and I was close enough to 100kg and was 99.95kg, and I stripped a third of my body weight. 

“The thing is, I get fat and gain weight quickly, hence my nickname ‘Tubba’, but I got down to 63kg for Bong Bong, and I’ve been maintaining my weight, but it’s hard.”

In a testament to his determination, Williams completed this particular interview during a training session and said he had one thing on his mind. 

“I want to do ride and ride winners,” Williams laughed. 

“I’m not going to do this forever, and I’m getting to an age where most people are giving it away, but I’m motivated.

“I ride work for Rod Northam, and I was riding work for Justin Drake, who trained a couple of these horses that I have with Rodney Robb, and the support I’ve had from everyone has been unbelievable.”

Williams, who races three horses with Rodney Robb in Nyngan, including Richter, Red Impulse and Party Stop, is uniquely positioned to own the horses he will ride at Tottenham.

Party Stop is a 25-start maiden taking on the 1400m Class B Handicap, and Red Impulse will line up as one of the major players in the Tottenham Picnic Cup (1400m).

“I’ve got two of my own horses in on Saturday, and Rodney Robb is training them, and we’ll see how we go,” Williams said. 

“I sent them out to Rodney Robb, and it was practical to do it. He’s a very good trainer, and he trained a winner for me seven or eight years ago, and it made more sense to have them out there where they will be racing. 

“Red Impulse is racing well, but she is in the Cup, and Party Stop ran a really good race last start. Rodney’s worked him out, and he’s going super.”

A lover of all things racing, Williams touched on his ‘romanticised view of bush racing’, explaining that he simply wants to enjoy attending at some of the most unique meetings in the country.

“I was Director of Stallions at Newgate Stud Farm, but this season, I want to enjoy outback racing,” Williams said. 

“I bought a four-wheel drive truck and a four-horse float, and if all goes to plan, at the end of April, I will head north and then west, and if it takes me four, five, or six months, all I want is to support country racing.”

Williams is worried about the future of country and picnic racing, and he said he would support clubs where he can and enjoy racing at meetings that might not exist in the years to come. 

“Once upon a time, picnic, bush and country and provincial racing was the backbone of racing in NSW, and now it is the tail wagging behind the dog,” Williams said. 

“It’s evident that administrators want to get rid of them, and it’s sad, but we’ll lose some of these meetings. 

“What I don’t think they’re grasping is that once you lose a track to an area, you lose participants to that area, and it is catastrophic for the health of racing. 

“For example, Bong Bong is a fantastic meeting and one of the biggest of its kind.

I went to Bedgerabong, and the crowd, facilities and staff on the day were exceptional. 

“We raced at Condo the next week, and it is a dirt track, but it is a good track and again, the facilities were excellent, and everyone wanted to be there.

“There was no ounce of trouble, and it was a great day to be had by all.

“While I can, I want to support those meetings and go the tracks in the outback and see some of these tracks before they close in the next five or ten years.”

For racing fans wanting to support Williams and bush tracks, they can get out to Tottenham on Saturday for the community’s major event of the year. 

For more on the meeting, click here

For the 2024 NSW Picnic Racing calendar, click here.