Born in Stirling, Scotland on 16th November, 1942, it took a while for Willie to take off in racing.
He readily admits that in the early days he thought of quitting.
However, he plugged on with the determination that was so evident in his energetic riding style.
Willie was definitely the punter's pal as he gave all horses a ride.
He is probably most remembered for his association with Nashwan and Dayjur--two completely contrasting racehorses.
Willie's riding performance to hustle Dayjur to the lead from an outside draw in the Breeders' Cup Sprint was impressive.
He looked like he had kept something up his sleeve for that final drive to the line and although the horse did a "Red Rum", it was a great ride.
Today Willie keeps himself busy. At the racecourse, he splits his time commentating for the BBC and is European racing manager for The Thoroughbred Corporation.