Saturday was an emotional day on two fronts for top jockey Craig Williams.
The Moonee Valley meeting’s feature event was the Travis Harrison Cup, named after Williams’ cousin, a former jockey who was killed in a car accident in 1996.
Harrison was a son of trainer Doug Harrison and grandson of another trainer, Tom Harrison.
“It’s a really important day for my family,” Williams said.
“It’s fantastic that Moonee Valley Racing Club honoured Travis Harrison and his name and the Harrison family.
“He’s been gone a long time now but it’s great they still recognise great contributors to the thoroughbred racing industry.”
Williams subsequently produced an outstanding ride on Godolphin galloper Lackeen to post his second win in the family event.
“I was lucky. I had Travis by my side,” an emotional Williams said after steering Lackeen to a dominant victory.
The Ukraine conflict also landed a blow with the family of the jockeys’ wife on the eve of The Valley meeting.
“We lost a really good associate we had in Ukraine yesterday. He was killed,” Williams said.
“Our thoughts are with all the people of Ukraine.”
The stars aligned to give Williams a win on the Patrick Ryan Jr-trained Ferago in the Easy Foam Wash Handicap (2500m).
There was little finesse in Williams’ ride on the tough stayer.
He asked Ferago to cover extra ground to improve his position from the 1000m before the gelding fought off the topweight Strawberry Rock to score.
“I did say before I went on him, ‘mate, you’re going to have to be like the Ukraine, you have to be brave,” Williams said.
“He certainly was today.”
Ferago’s win left Williams in third spot in the final metropolitan jockeys’ premiership with 52 wins, 24 behind winner Jye McNeil.