‘Local’ Craig Williams picks Tofane to reign supreme and wear the Tiara

Champion jockey Craig Williams has compared choosing between Tofane and Brooklyn Hustle for Saturday’s Group 1 Tattersall’s Tiara to picking his favourite daughter as he looks to round out a golden winter carnival.

The Victorian has made Queensland home throughout the carnival due to Covid-19 restrictions and finds himself in the box seat to grab the last Group 1 of the season on Saturday where he will again team up with Stradbroke Handicap winner Tofane.

Such is his affinity for Queensland this year, Williams said he has even temporarily adopted the favoured code of football during his trip.

“I am a local now, they have asked me to go to a rugby (league) match so I am learning,” he said.

“I was wearing maroon last Wednesday night and then they got flogged.”

After winning on both Tofane and Brooklyn Hustle on Stradbroke day, Williams had options to ride both of the mares but says he went against his heart with Tofane.

“For me, I have four children – two boys and two girls – but it was like trying to choose between my two daughters which no parent wants to do, it was a really tough decision,” he said.

“I probably went with the facts rather than my heart in this situation, who knows if it is the right one but unfortunately we had to make a decision.

Craig Williams after riding Brooklyn Hustle to victory in the Dane Ripper Stakes at Eagle Farm. Picture: Grant Peters/Trackside Photography.Source:The Courier-Mail

“We will know on Saturday whether it was the right decision or not but there is no doubt they are both very, very good quality mares.

“The race isn’t just between them either, it is going to be a really good edition of the Tatts Tiara to round out what I would say has been a successful Brisbane winter carnival.”

Having only ridden Brooklyn Hustle under race conditions for the first time in the Group 2 Dane Ripper, Williams admits he wouldn’t be surprised to see the mare cruise on past in the Tatts Tiara.

“She is such a sweetheart Brooklyn Hustle, I have a sweet spot for her but she is now my enemy unfortunately,” he said.

“I am very grateful to have the decision because it means they both did their job two weeks ago, it’s the way it is now.

“What gave my options was the fact I did my job last week with both of those horses, if I didn’t and I didn’t have options it means I didn’t win on them.”

Tofane comes out of her barnstorming Stradbroke victory where Williams was able to get the better of local hope Vega One in a thrilling finish.

The connections of Brooklyn Hustle are sweating on any changes to Queensland’s border restrictions after tentatively booking star jockey Jamie Kah to ride if she is able to enter the state from Victoria without entering hotel quarantine.

Originally published asWilliams picks favourite mare to wear Tiara

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