Tim Wins 500

Tim Wins 500

Bruce Stewart

14th August 2020

It was fitting that Down To The Bone trained by Robert Dunn provided Canterbury reinsman Tim Williams with his 500th winner at Addington recently, as Dunn had provided Williams with his first winner Easy Armbro at Rangiora on the 23rd December 2007.


Interestingly, two days after reaching the 500 milestone, Williams had a win with Zambia who’s trained by Paul Kerr for whom Williams worked in his early career as well.

Cantabrian Tim Williams has a strong southern connection. He spent two seasons working for Ascot Park trainer Wayne Adams and he’s fashioned a good record in some of the southern circuit’s best races including the Group Three Northern Southland Cup (Henry Hubert 2020 and More The Better 2018), The Central Otago and Invercargill Cups with Funatthebeach, Southern Lights (Pres The Belle), Diamond Creek Farm Two Year Old Classic (Lazarus), Southland Trotting Oaks (Tailored Elegance) and the time honoured Kindergarten Stakes with Messini (2013-his first winner for Mark Purdon) and First Class (2020).

More The Better returning after his Northern Southland Cup Win- Photo Bruce Stewart.

Southerners have kept a close eye on Williams since he left the province. We’ve seen him develop under the tutelage of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen into an astute reinsman with a remarkable record of 53 Group or Listed races within his five hundred winners.

Williams was destined to give Harness Racing a go. His grandfather Max Williams and Robert Dunn’s father were in business together in the 1960s, owning several hotels in Wellington.

“They raced a lot of gallopers together to start with. My father (Brent) grew up with Robert and Geoff (Dunn) in the pubs,” Williams said.

One of the gallopers the partnership raced was Shantung.

She was a smart three year old winning the 1969 Great Northern St Leger Stakes over a mile and three quarters at Ellerslie and the 1969 New Zealand St Leger Stakes at Trentham. By Iconic, she was trained by Bill Winder and was ridden for both of those wins by Grenville Hughes.

Williams grew up around horses and went to the Robert Dunn stable as a young boy.

“I’d been going there for a long time. It wasn’t a hard decision to make to join the payroll. They’ve been supporters from day dot so it was quite fitting that I was wearing his colours.”

He worked for Dunn for a couple of seasons driving at the trials between 2006-2008. He then headed to Paul Kerr’s stable for a short stint.

“I was close to getting my trials license and Johnny and Robert offered me the job back. They were starting to get a big team at that stage. They said they would give me the trials drives to get my licence. I stayed there all the way through my junior licence.”

William’s first group win was Here We Go Again trained by Jamie Gameson in the 2011 Ladyship Stakes beating the Purdon/Rasmussen pair of Twist N Twirl and O Baby. He’s driven seventeen winners for Gameson with the first at Invercargill in 2008.

“Jamie was a regular supporter right from an early stage. I got a lot of drives from Jamie at a young age so he was a big help.”

Here We Go Again after winning the listed Caduceus Club of Southland/Nevele R Two Year Old Fillies Pace at Ascot Park

After working for the Dunns, Williams decided to move south in 2012 having gained his senior licence, and a little unsure as to how many drives he would get for the powerful Dunn team. So he started working for Wayne Adams at the beginning of the 2012 season, stayed there for two seasons driving thirty seven winners before the All Stars came calling.

Young Tim Williams in the Wayne Adams colours

Brindy which Williams drove to win four times in the south

Quality filly Luminesce another good winner for Williams while he was in the south with Wayne Adams.

All Stars principle Mark Purdon had seen Williams drive his two year old Messini to win in the 2013 Kindergarten Stakes and must have been impressed. He joined the All Stars team in 2014.

Tim Williams and Messini after their Kindergarten Stakes win – Photo Bruce Stewart

“Blair (Orange) left and there was a vacancy. I got a phone call out of the blue, that’s how it all started. I went from Wayne’s doing twenty horses and thought that was busy but when I went to Mark and Natalie’s they were doing fifty to sixty so it was definitely a change of pace.”

He also noticed the difference in the stock he was driving.

“They’re looking for horses for the premier grades. That’s the sort of horse they strive to train.”

His first winner for the All Stars was Meticulous at Oamaru at the starts of the 2014 season.

Also in his first season there he had the opportunity to drive a couple of the stables best horsepower in Dream About Me and Have Faith In Me.

“You couldn’t dream of a better one to start with in the first year I was there. He (Have Faith In Me) was the flag ship horse for me in that first year. Those good horses are a pleasure to drive. He knew what he was doing. It helped me. I hadn’t driven in many of those big races until I got the drive on him.”

Williams labelled Have Faith In Me win in the 2014 New Zealand Sires Stakes as special.

“It was my first Group One and being a Canterbury boy, Cup Day is the big day of the year. Everyone strives to get drives, let alone a Group One so it was pretty special.”

The winning time of 2-17.3 was a new New Zealand record erasing the previous record of 2-18.3 held for five years by Stunin Cullen.

Have Faith In Me winning the Sires Stakes – Photo Race Images

Have Faith In Me went on to be named 2014-2015 Three Year Old Colt and Gelding of the Year.

“There were times when he handled Have Faith In Me very well. I thought He made some good tactical race moves that were winning moves,” Mark Purdon said.

Have Faith In Me winning at Ashburton – Photo Race Images

Of his five hundred winners 103 have been for the All Stars who have seen him grow over the years he‘s worked for them.

“He’s been loyal to the camp and a real asset to the team. He has a very good work ethic and is a thinker. He’s got what it takes to be a good all round horseman, said Purdon. He’s taken a step up from when he left Invercargill by handling some better horses and getting more confidence.”

Lazarus and Williams winning the Diamond Creek Farm Two Year Old Classic -Photo Bruce Stewart.

Like all reinsmen Williams would love to win the New Zealand Cup on his home track at Addington. He’s driven in the great race five times with the best results being Dream About Me which finished third in 2014 and he’s also recorded two fourths with Smolda (2016) and Chase Auckland (2019).

“We enjoy him been part of the team. He’s an integral part of the All Stars operation,” Purdon said.

Williams has also tasted success in Australia winning the 2016 $150,000 Group One Nevele R Stud Victoria Oaks, driving Piccadilly Princess.

“That was pretty cool. To do it over there was another challenge. It was nice to get the job done for them.”

Amongst his records there have been a couple of group purple patches.

In March 2015 he won the Group One Great Northern Derby with Have Faith In Me, Group Two Delightful Lady Classic with Dream About Me, Group Two Vero Flying Stakes with Have Faith In Me and the Group One New Zealand Derby with Have Faith In Me.

In May 2015 he won two races on Jewels Day at Ashburton with Have Faith In Me and Dream About Me.

“If you can turn up on those sorts of days with those sorts of drives it makes life a little bit easier.”

October 2014 provided another highlight for Williams when he drove six winners at the Wairio Meeting; Ode To Success, Rockahula Arden, Fly Like An Eagle, Margarita, Oneover and Dark Dana. His only other drive finished third.

Fly Like An Eagle after his win at Wairio – One of six for Williams – Photo Bruce Stewart

He also won three of the four feature races at the Northern Southland Trotting Club meeting in March 2020. He won with Tailored Elegance in the Southland Trotting Oaks, Henry Hubert in the Northern Southland Cup and Pres The Belle in the Group Three Southern Lights.

Tailored Elegance winning the Southland Trotting Oaks

Henry Hubert the Northern Southland Cup

Pres The Belle warming up before winning the Southern Lights – Photo Bruce Stewart

And over the years he’s taken his opportunities and driven some on the blue army’s best. Horses like Cash N Flow, Ashley Locaz, Funatthebeach and Another Masterpiece.

“Whether it’s been through suspension, someone being overseas or on holiday I’ve pretty much driven all the big bangers at some point.”

Funatthebeach after his Invercargill Cup win – Photo Bruce Stewart

And he’s really appreciated the quality of advice Purdon and Rasmussen have passed his way.

“They’re such great drivers themselves. I’m never shy about asking them for their opinion. In those big races you want to be pulling the right rein at the right time.”

He’s also driven Chase Auckland to win the Group One New Zealand Pacing FFA and won on the gelding in the Methven and New Brighton Cups.

As you’d expect there’s plenty of quality young stock in the current All Stars racing team and Williams says Rock Legend could be one to watch out for.

“I haven’t driven him too much but what I felt at Invercargill when he won was that he could be one to follow. I think he should get better and better. I think when it comes to the Derbys he’ll be suited to the 2600 metres.”

Williams and partner Aimee Edmonds have a two year old son named Max and are expecting their second child in December (also a boy).

The couple live at Rolleston just over the road from the All Stars stable.

So what does the future hold for this talented thirty one year old. Training?

“Potentially one day if the time was right but at the moment the emphasis is on the driving.”

Tim Williams Fact Sheet:

  • First winner: Easy Armbro for RJ Dunn Rangiora 23rd December 2007.
  • Finished third in the 2019 New Zealand Drivers Premiership with 90 wins behind Blair Orange (218) and John Dunn (107).
  • Junior 2009-2012 (112 wins)
  • Group One wins: 15
  • Group Two wins: 12
  • Group Three wins: 19
  • Listed: 7

First Class winning this last seasons Kindergarten Stakes

He’s driven four winners in a day three times.

  • Ashburton June 2019: Oscar Bonavena, The Moonshadow, Self Assured and Vulcan Star.
  • Addington October 2018: Flying Milly Mac, Harriot Of Mot, Dream About Me and Muscles Galore.
  • Wairio December 2013: Iron Duke, Jaccka Looney, Luminesce and Bettor Buy It.

Williams waiting with the connections of Better Buy It before the 2014 Southern Supremacy Stakes at Gore.

  • Good All Stars New Zealand winners driven by Tim:
  • Dream About Me (10)
  • Have Faith In Me (9)
  • Cash N Flow (8)
  • Another Masterpiece (6)
  • Piccadilly Princess (6)
  • Ashley Locaz (5)
  • Funatthbeach (5)
  • Smolda and Lazarus
  • GI Joe (4)
  • Meticulous (4)

Winners for Mark Purdon and Natalie: 103, Robert Dunn: 70 Wayne Adams: 37.

Harness Jewels (5)

  • Two Year Old Diamond: 2015 – Dream About Me
  • Two Year Old Emerald: Another Masterpiece 2018 and Ashley Locaz 2017
  • Three Year OId Diamond: Piccadilly Princess 2016
  • Three Year Old Emerald: Have Faith In Me

Bottom line:

4134 drives-500 winners-462 seconds -380 thirds for $7,423,104 in stakes for a UDR of .2137