By KEA BROWNING
This year’s Coonamble Gold Cup races were a not-so-minor success for Coonamble-born racehorse trainer Danny Williams.
Mr Williams won the Baradine Cup with the horse My Blue Jeans and jockey Aaron Bullock and the Coonamble Cup with his horse Petaluma and jockey Daniel Northey.
Mr Williams was born and raised in Coonamble.
“All the people in Coonamble are a bit of family, really, because Coonamble when I was growing up was a very small town that was very close knit,” he said.
“It’s great to see some old faces still around and a lot of people I went to school with or supported my family and I really appreciate those people.”
Mr Williams’ parents were involved in horse racing, which is where he got his love for it.
“I owned my first horse when I was 16 and I rode as an amateur rider when I was 14, I put my age up a year here in Coonamble and cheated with my age,” he said.
“I rode as an amateur for 15 years and then went professional for 4 and a half and then I was invited to go and train privately at Goulbourn, where I am now.”
Mr Williams has now been a professional trainer for more than 15 years.
It’s been a long time since Mr Williams came back to his home town.
“I think I left Coonamble in about 1991 or ‘92 and it’s only the second time I’ve been back in that time,” he said.
“I came back here in 2004, which was the year they left the irrigation on, so I drove all the way from Goulbourn and had to turn around at the bridge, which was frustrating because it’s about an eight hour drive.
This is Mr Williams’ first time back in Coonamble in 16 years, and he says it’s a ‘nostalgia trip’.
“Before I came to the races here I went and looked at my old home and where we trained our horses here in Coonamble,” he said
“It’s been good to see some old faces again and it’s not just about coming back for the race meet, it’s been a very nostalgic visit for me.”
Winning both the Baradine and Coonamble Cups were notable for the trainer.
“It’s always good to win, but to win in Coonamble is even better,” he said.
“It’s been a really good day and it’s fantastic to see crowds back at events.”