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THE RENOWNED LLOYD WILLIAMS
Renowned racehorse owner
Lloyd Williams hadn’t set foot
at Flemington to watch the
Emirates Melbourne Cup unfold live
for two decades.
Yet there he stood in the flesh,
standing out in a grey morning suit,
matching top hat and Victoria
Racing Club (VRC) Life Membership
badge proudly worn on his lapel,
appearing every bit the celebrity
of the Sport of King’s.
Arguably Australian racing’s
most reclusive and intriguing figure,
Williams ordinarily favours watching
his horses tackle the famous race
from the comfort of his lounge room.
The difference on this occasion
was that Williams’ son Nick, the
public face of the dominant stable,
had hurt his knee the night before
and landed himself in the hospital.
Williams reportedly “stepped up
from the interchange bench” to fill
the void in the likely event the navy
blue silks of one of his four runners
crossed the finishing line in front.
As luck would have it, Williams
became the most prolific Emirates
Melbourne Cup winning owner a few
hours later when his German import
Almandin (GER), piloted by Kerrin
McEvoy, edged to a narrow victory
over the gallant Heartbreak City (FR).
The victory boosted an already
imposing tally strung out over
decades – Just A Dash (1981), What
A Nuisance (NZ) (1985), Efficient (NZ)
(2007), and Green Moon (IRE) (2012).
Fronting a media scrum the
following day outside Macedon
Lodge, the state-of-the-art training
property based at the foothills of
Mount Macedon, Williams revealed
the stable began plotting victory two
years ago, such is the preparation
required to conquer the great race.
“You need a lot of luck and things
have got to go right,” Williams
“ It’s not an easy thing. There’s
a lot of people all around the world
trying to win the Emirates Melbourne
Cup and we’ve been very fortunate that
at this property (Macedon Lodge) we’ve
had three Melbourne Cup winners
come off it. But it’s not something
we can computer program.”
A proud Melburnian, Williams
became hooked on the Emirates
Melbourne Cup when he was a
young boy and as he grew older
he made it his quest to win the
In the aftermath of the
history-breaking win his thoughts,
unsurprisingly, turned to unlocking
the next triumph.
“There’s never enough. But it’s
very elusive. I’ve been very fortunate.
Five Melbourne Cups... if you’d asked
me 40 years ago, it was my dream to
win a Melbourne Cup, and if you said
to me 40 years ago that I would win
five Melbourne Cups, I wouldn’t have
The 76-year-old amassed his
colossal fortune as a property
developer in his early days, then
added to it by conceiving Crown
Casino in 1994.
In 2012 Williams was worth an
estimated $670 million and lobbed
in at number 38 on Forbes’ list of
Australia’s 40 richest people.
Labels used to portray him range
from high-rolling businessman
to leviathan punter and property
tycoon. None of them seem off
Legendary race caller Greg Miles,
who will retire in coming months,
first called the Melbourne Cup in
1981 when Just A Dash, trained by
the late Tommy Smith, gave
Williams his maiden win.
Miles didn’t know much about
Williams back then, simply that he
was a rich businessman that owned
a few gallopers.
As the years rolled on, Williams’
presence in racing circles grew,
and his fanaticism for the Emirates
Melbourne Cup came to light.
“His passion for the Emirates
Melbourne Cup has probably not
been matched by any owner before
or since,” Miles says.
“It’s quite extraordinary the
money and the lengths that he goes
to play the game.”
Miles believes Williams’ hefty
investment in buying racehorses,
often to the detriment of his bank
balance, has benefited the sport
In recent years Williams has
successfully cherry-picked lightly-
raced overseas staying horses to fill
the gaps in locally bred talent.
Some argue Williams’ wealth
has threatened the reputation of
the Emirates Melbourne Cup as the
people’s race but Miles looks at it
from a different lens.
“The one thing about the
Emirates Melbourne Cup is that
having millions doesn’t guarantee
success and I think that even Lloyd
would admit that his ledger, even
though he’s won five Melbourne
Cups, would have a lot of red
numbers in it,” Miles points out.
“So I couldn’t possibly knock a
of Assign (IRE)
Williams af ter
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for the media at
INSIDE HEADQUARTERS ISSUE 1 2017
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