Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Christian Williams: Man of Steel


At the time of writing, Christian Williams may be well into his second season as a trainer under his own name, but is still probably best known for his exploits as a jockey. In a 14-year career, Williams rode 339 winners, many of them trained by Paul Nicholls – and made more than one improbable comeback following serious falls – before forcibly retired by reoccurring injuries in March, 2014.

At that point, Williams hadn’t ridden for nearly a year, but had already started working for owner Dai Walters at his stables, The Hollies, on the outskirts of Cardiff. Initially, Williams assisted Paul Morgan, the trainer in residence at The Hollies, with the pre-training of his young horses. However, Paul Morgan left The Hollies, amicably, in 2017 and Williams took over the licence.

He said at the time, “I started work with Mr Walters four years ago and the natural progression now is to take out a licence. We have a state-of-the-art facility, which enables myself and the staff to maximise the potential of horses in our care.”

In his first season as a trainer in his own right, Williams sent out just seven runners, but saddled his first winner, Juge Et Parti, in a National Hunt Flat Race at Bangor in April, 2017. Limited Reserve also finished a close second in a valuable handicap hurdle at Haydock, contributing £9,883 to Williams’ £14,700 in win and place prize money.

By the start of the 2017/18 season, Williams was ready for the next step in his fledgling career and relocated to a new yard in the seaside village of Ogmore-by-Sea in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales, where he is now assisted by his brother Nicky. Williams said, “I've always wanted to train from home with my brother…It will be great to work with Nicky, who rode more than 100 point-to-point winners, and we've got a lot to offer.”

So far, in 2017/18 Williams has saddled 8 winners from 54 runners, at a strike rate of 15%, and earned £108,204 in total prize money. His stable flag-bearer, Limited Reserve, has made the highest contribution, financially, winning the Betfair Exchange Hurdle at Haydock in November and following up in the Betfred Supports Jack Berry House Handicap Hurdle, also at the Merseyside course. However, Hedgeinator, also syndicated to All Stars Sports Racing, has won three of his seven steeplechases and is the next best money-spinner in the yard.

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