09/03/2012 3:22PM

Northlands: Williams has five mounts on last day as apprentice


Scott Williams is looking forward to his last day as an apprentice rider this Wednesday at Northlands Park. Williams has five mounts on the eight-race card, which begins at 6 p.m. Mountain.

Williams rides Mountain Park for trainer Robert Kingston in a $12,000 claiming race for 3-year-old fillies that will serve as the midweek feature. The one-mile race drew six horses and goes as the fourth race.

Most apprentices fear losing the five-pound weight allowance, but Williams believes being able to ride at a more comfortable weight will help make him a stronger and better rider. He said he will be a lot more comfortable riding at 117-118 pounds.

“I’m pretty tall so I’ll still be a regular in the sauna,” he said. “But I won’t have to be in there nearly as long.”

Williams, 22, is the leading apprentice in Canada and would appear to have a lock on winning the Sovereign Award. Going into Wednesday’s card he has won 94 races and is well ahead of Jennifer Reid, who is the second-leading apprentice in Canada with 58 wins, all at Assiniboia Downs. He is also tied with Rico Walcott for leading rider at Northlands, and only Patrick Husbands at Woodbine has won more races in Canada this year.

Williams had support at Woodbine and he also had plenty of business at Hastings. He prefers Northlands, however. He learned to ride at Olds College, which is located about two hours south of Edmonton in Olds, Alberta.

“I started galloping horses at Northlands and then went to Olds College, which was an awesome experience,” he said. “I just have so many good friends here and right from Day 1 trainers put me on live horses.”

He comes from a racing family. His father, Danny Williams, was a top jockey at Hastings before he went on to a successful career as a jockey agent at Hastings and Woodbine. His grandfather Ronnie Williams was also a top jockey in British Columbia and was inducted into the British Columbia Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 1989. He died at the young age of 32 from a brain aneurism in 1968. Barbara Williams, Scott’s grandmother, keeps a close eye on his career from Hastings.

“I know my dad is very proud of me and he has really helped me out a lot,” said Williams. “He was a great rider and he’s always giving me good tips. Grandpa has been watching me and keeping me safe and of course Grandma is my biggest supporter.”