Billy Pyers was a noted hands and heels rider and a superb judge of pace. His skills, combined with his effervescent personality, made him a favourite with the racing public.

Pyers had a remarkable start to his career – by the time he turned 24 in 1957, he had won the Adelaide jockeys’ premiership seven times. He won his 8th and 9th premierships in 1959-60 and 1960-61. For the next few seasons he rode extensively at interstate carnivals where his feature wins included the Caulfield Cup, Moonee Valley Cup, Newmarket Handicap, Oakleigh Plate, Futurity Stakes, and Golden Slipper Stakes. On seven occasions he won the South Australian Oaks. In Tulloch’s only appearance in Adelaide he rode that horse to victory in the SJ Pullman Select Stakes.

In 1964 Pyers accepted an offer to ride in France for trainer Ernie Fellows, and on his first ride in England won the classic Two Thousand Guineas at Newmarket. He later rode as No. 1 jockey for leading French owner Daniel Wildenstein, the Aga Khan and American Nelson Bunker Hunt.

His major successes included the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (twice), French Derby, Irish Oaks, Ascot Gold Cup, Doncaster Gold Cup, and the 1967 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. In 1973 he won the Laurel Park Washington DC international on the champion three-year-old filly, Dahlia, whom he regarded as the greatest horse he ever rode.

When he died in October 2004, his fellow rider and friend, Ron Hutchinson, said of him: “He was delightful company and a great rider”.

William Pyers was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010.