A natural lightweight, Bill Duncan was one of Australia's most successful jockeys in the inter-war period.
As an apprentice he rode his first winner at Mentone in 1916, and was 18 when he won his first important race, the Coongy Handicap, in 1918. Less than a month later he had his first ride in the Melbourne Cup and won on Night Watch, trained by Richard Bradfield. Duncan only got the mount because there were few riders who could make Night Watch's weight of 6st 9lb (42 kg).
Duncan went on to win another Melbourne Cup on Peter Pan (1932), two Caulfield Cups, a Sydney Cup, two Australian Cups and numerous major handicap and weight-for-age events. In all he rode 893 winners of which 74 were stakes races. 11 times he won the Melbourne jockeys' premiership, which remained a record until broken by Roy Higgins. His most sensational ride was in the 1925 AJC Derby when his mount Manfred was left 100 metres at the barrier but still managed to get up to win.
Duncan retired in 1933 after a serious fall from his mount Rose Valais.
Duncan was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003.
Image Source: Australian Racing Museum Collection