W.J.Tucker 1895-96 & 1896-97 seasons

Brisbane’s first ‘superstar’ jockey

Leading rider 1895-96, 96-97 seasons

 Cossack style dismount & remount



William James Tucker


tucker and tucker

Tucker jnr. W. Tucker snr.

circa 1904

William James Tucker was born in England and arrived in Australia with his family at the age of 3. His father Edwin George was a sea captain. Those that knew him said he was a natural horseman and that there was nothing he could not do with a horse. William did fancy himself as an acrobat and his number one trick was to jump off a horse, run alongside his mount and then spring back into the saddle. Legend has it that on one occasion William performed this feat as a victory celebration and was consequently disqualified by the stewards for dismounting before returning to scale. Such a happening was most likely to have taken place in a pony race at an unregistered meeting, where the horse would have been small enough to accomplish the act. A self-taught jockey, William developed his skill to the level where he had no peer on the unregistered tracks at Lytton, Oxley, Coorparoo and Breakfast Creek. His services were in such demand that he often commuted by horseback between Saturday meetings at Coorparoo and Breakfast Creek. On one such commute, after he had ridden two winners at Coorparoo, he set off to ride to Breakfast Creek. As Tucker rode at a good gallop through Fortitude Valley his horse reared and fell. Neither rider nor horse sustained severe damage, allowing both to continue on to Breakfast Creek where Tucker fulfilled his riding engagement and rode another winner. In his lengthy career in the saddle William Tucker won many feature races. The most satisfying, both personally and financially, would have been Ardon’s win in the 1902 Kings Cup. He owned, trained and rode the horse. The Tucker home and stables in Bowley Street, Hendra, bore the horse’s name. After some 40 years in silks, William Tucker’s career in the saddle came to an end in the 1907-08 season, but he had a home grown supply of riding talent to take his place. William Tucker and Alice (Robinson) had four sons who followed in their father’s footsteps. They were;
  • William Alfred Tucker born 1891
  • Edward George Tucker born 1893
  • Archibald Ernest Tucker born 1894
  • James Leonard Tucker born 1899
William Alfred rode under the name of W. J. Tucker jnr. His four years in the saddle were highlighted by a win on Sea Breeze for his father in the 1905 Queensland Cup. William jnr. was 14 years and two months old at the time. He later took over at the helm of the Ardon stables and became Brisbane’s leading trainer in the 1932-33 season, in his first year at the caper. Edward George Tucker, or “Puddin” to his mates, rode for 25 years winning most of the feature races and two jockeys’ titles. Archibald did not have the physique to be a jockey. He registered as a rider in August 1908 but rising weight soon led him into a career as assistant to his father. James Tucker’s riding career was cut short by tragedy in July 1919 when his horse fell after it clipped heels in a race at Eagle Farm. James was fatally injured and passed away the next day. William James Tucker’s career as a trainer rose to the same level he reached as a jockey. Among his many victories were four Queensland Cups and five Brisbane Cups. He was said to have had no peer as a horseman. The racetrack success emanating from the Ardon Stables at 17 Bowley Street have become a Queensland legend. Today a passer-by would not be aware that Bowley Street once echoed to the sounds of champion horses and champion men. One man in particular, William James Tucker, would rightly be described as the best horseman Queensland has seen.

William Tucker’s Feature Wins As A Jockey

2-1-1892 Qtc Handicap Tallboy
14-12-1895 Sandgate Handicap Irish Stew
14-8-1896 Queensland Guineas College Cap
29-5-1897 Moreton Handicap Archie’s Daughter
29-5-1897 Royal Stakes Archie’s Daughter
5-11-1898 Hopeful Stakes Lotos
9-11-1898 Birthday Handicap Bucolic
12-12-1898 Queensland Cup Narcissus
20-5-1899 Sires’ Produce Notre Dame
24-6-1899 June Gift North Australian
5-8-1899 Queensland Guineas Lauri
9-11-1899 Prince Of Wales Cup North Australian
16-12-1899 Sandgate Handicap Little Tartar
26-12-1899 Newmarket Handicap Little Tartar
1-5-1900 May Day Cup Bucolic
10-11-1900 Southport Handicap Bucolic
25-5-1901 Moreton Handicap Little Tartar
5-5-1902 May Day Cup Guiding Star
8-11-1902 King’s Cup Ardon