Legendary jockey dies – throwing the racing industry into mourning

  • The racing world is in mourning after a legend’s death 
  • Bill Camer passed away on Saturday, Racing NSW confirmed 
  • Camer was a well-loved figure in the sport 

The racing world is in mourining after legendary jockey Bill Camer passed away at the age of 92.

Racing NSW confirmed on Tuesday that Camer, one of Australia’s best lightweight jockeys, died on Saturday. 

‘Bill was highly respected not just by his former colleagues in the jockeys’ room, but by all those in the racing industry that had the pleasure of meeting this gentleman of the turf,’ said Racing NSW’s Chief Executive, Mr Peter V’landys AM. 

‘Bill had a long and distinguished career competing in a golden era of jockeys and will be greatly missed. We pass on our sincere condolences to his wife Barbara and their family.’ 

Camer was born in Italy and first started working as a newspaper delivery lad in the rural town of Ayr, situated south of Townsville in Queensland.  

An Austrlian horseracing legend has passed away at the age of 92

Bill Camer won the Cox Plate in 1954 and was a much-loved figure

Bill Camer won the Cox Plate in 1954 and was a much-loved figure

‘I was 14 and that was towards the end of my school days, and being so small I delivered the papers on a pony,’ Bill had recalled. 

‘I had a split bag over the front of horse and carried the papers in that. ‘A trainer’s son noticed me riding past and asked if I would like to be a jockey. Mum and Dad agreed to move to Townsville, and I eventually ended up at Randwick with trainer Pat Murray.’ 

Camer was described as ‘the kind of hard-working man who helps form the sport’s backbone.’ 

He was the oldest living Cox Plate-winning jockey at the time of his passing. He won the race in 1954 aboard Kingster. 

As a result of his lightweight frame, Camer had a special saddle designed for Doncaster Handicap and Stradbroke winner Karendi, wich was carrying huge weights. 

‘The saddle was made so the lead was built into it, and you didn’t have a lead bag rolling over the horse.’ 

Camer won the 1958 Stradbroke on two-year-old Wiggle as well as the 1970 edition on Divide and Rule.

Camer grew up in a working class background and enjoyed huge success

Camer grew up in a working class background and enjoyed huge success

Wiggle won five races on the bounce including the Champagne Stakes before her victory in Stradbroke, and went on to win 21 of her 55 starts before being sold to the USA. 

Camer continued riding at an elite level in 1975 when he won the Epsom Handicap at Randwick. 

He initiatedthe Australian Jockeys Association in the 1960s and is survived by his wife Barbara, son Bradley and daughter Tina. 

New South WalesQueensland

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