Does The Pro Football Hall Of Fame Have A Package Bill Duncan: Australian Champion Jockey

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Bill Duncan: Australian Champion Jockey

Bill Duncan, a career best with 893 wins including two Melbourne Cups and the Caulfield Cup, major feature races including major handicap and weight for age races. His 11 Premiership titles are a record equaled only by Roy Higgins.

Bill Duncan was one of Australia’s champion jockeys in the inter-war period. Born in 1900, Duncan was a natural lightweight, trained in 1916 where he won his first title in a race at Mentone. At the age of 18, he won his first major race, the Coongee Handicap, in 1918. Nicknamed ‘Little Billy’, he weighed under seven stone when he made his Melbourne Cup debut in 1918. He was selected to ride the Richard Bradfield-trained Night Watch as Night Watch was among the riders to cut the weight to 42.18. The Kilo 1918 Cup was the fifth and final cup of the First World War. Duncan led the Night’s Watch to victory in 3:25.75, followed by Kenaquare in second and Gadabout in third.

Duncan’s other memorable victory was the Caulfield Cup in the spring of 1925, winning by 2 ½ lengths, leading the 7-1 second favourite, the first of his two Cup wins. He won the Sydney Cup and several other age-group competitions. A favorite at the Melbourne track, Duncan won 11 Melbourne Jockeys’ Premierships including one as an apprentice. The 1925 AJC Derby was a race in which he showed exemplary skill even when he left Manfred over the 100m hurdles. Duncan was also a VRC Derby winner.

Duncan’s last race was the 1932 Melbourne Cup aboard Peter Pan, a crowd favorite from the start. In a fast-paced race, Duncan makes a move to drive Peter Pan from a distance while the horses are inside. However, the horse suffered a shock but was saved from stumbling head first after receiving a jolt from stable mate Dennis Boy. Peter Pan then regains his balance and wins by a neck. Soon after, a serious decline at Rose Wallace forced Duncan to retire 893 winners in 1933. 74 of his wins were in contenders races while the rest were in many major handicap and weight-for-age races.

After his retirement, Duncan served on the committee of the Fitzroy Football Club from 1952 – 1955. His achievements were recognized by his induction into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2003. Duncan’s record of 11 premiership titles was equaled by Roy Higgins. However, Duncan’s first premiership has been counted since official records were kept.

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