Surgeon within reach of fulfilling Cup dream
THE frantic Caulfield Cup mounting yard is a world away from the precision required in an operating theatre and renowned Brisbane orthopaedic surgeon Dr Richard Williams knows which is going to be tougher on the nerves.
Williams is a part-owner of Caulfield Cup favourite Kings Will Dream, after an offer to buy into the horse arose at Magic Millions time this year.
"I think I'm more nervous watching a Group 1 than operating on people," he said.
"You get used to your job a lot more than you get used to watching your horse run against Winx for example. Standing in the mounting yard makes me more jittery than operating."
Williams' practice focuses on disorders of the spine. His 20 years in the profession includes research of rare spinal tumours and management of sporting spinal conditions.
"I've been affiliated with the Brisbane Broncos and a number of their players that come through for treatment," he said.
"I treated (former Bronco, Maroon and Kangaroo) Brent Tate. He had a problem with his neck and we organised a support for his neck, which he wore through most of his NRL career.
"That was quite successful. He became very confident with it and he was able to play at a higher level than what he was able to before he had the treatment.''
Williams said he's been lucky to meet a lot of interesting people during his career.
"That's how I became more involved in horse racing, through the extended contacts you make," he said. "Having a bit of fun with your mates at the races and enjoying the prospects of a particular horse, it's all good fun."
The association with Kings With Dream began at a lunch with friends during this year's Magic Millions, where respected Melbourne-based buyer Brad Spicer told the table he still had a few shares left in an import that was about to begin racing in Australia.
"It all got sorted out pretty rapidly," Williams said. "Kings Will Dream had just started its run here (in Australia) and we fell into it, luckily, just because of the timing."
Williams has raced a number of horses over the years, including several in Brisbane with Liam Birchley, but never one the calibre of Kings Will Dream.
"You might go your whole career and never have a Group 1 runner, let alone a Cup runner," he said. "We're very excited about his prospects. There's a lot of confidence in the market for him, which is pleasing. His lead-ups have been impressive, he has the legs for the distance, the weather looks OK and it's in the lap of the gods.
"We're very optimistic and very excited just to be a part of the spring racing carnival."