Craig Williams says he was "taken" by the hospitality he received during his whistle-stop visit to the region for the Tamworth Cup - and has vowed to return.
The Melbourne Cup winner was a last-minute addition to the $200,000 race on Friday afternoon, accepting Scone trainer Paul Messara's invitation to ride Total Recall in the big race.
Total Recall performed decently in finishing fifth to High Court.
Williams said he "couldn't have been more impressed with the hospitality" he received, on what was his first race appearance in Tamworth.
"You had a really good turnout for the races," he added. "People really supported the Cup meeting, and it was lovely to see children in their school uniforms [oncourse)."
The 43-year-old said he and Messara had "a great desire" to "find the right horse to win the race, hopefully next year or in the future".
Punters flocked to Total Recall - a four-year-old gelding with five wins from 13 starts - after Williams entered the picture, and he started the favourite.
Tamworth Jockey Club administrator David Jewell was blown away by the spike in media attention Friday's meeting received because of Williams.
Jewell said having Williams' name attached to the race gave it media exposure beyond the industry.
"It's hard to put a value on it," he said. "But I think if you paid for it in advertising, it would be hundred of thousands of dollars."
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: