Sunday 24 November 2019

Noel Williams: As Dedicated as they Come

Based at Churn Stables, Blewbury, Oxon since 2016, Noel Williams is as dedicated as they come. Known for his patience with horses Noel couldn’t have had a better mentor in Alan King overseeing class horses like Voyer Por Ustedes, Katchit and My Way De Solzen before starting his own journey on his own. 

Noel, have you always been involved in horse racing? 

I started off my working life as a 3-day-Event rider, and also produced young horses for that sphere before going into racing where I spent 12 years as Alan King’s Assistant before venturing out on my own. 

If you weren’t a trainer what would you have done? 

If I wasn’t a trainer I would probably be a bloodstock agent as I enjoy working the sales. If it was nothing to do horses or racing I would say probably something to do with criminal psychology as that’s a subject that really fascinates me. 

Do you feel a lot of pressure training horses or is it a relaxed career that gives you a lot of pleasure? 

I rarely feel pressure training the horses. There is quite a lot of pressure that comes from running the business, however. The financial margins are extremely small in this line of work, which many people wouldn’t realise, so that makes it a hard way to make a living and indeed stay afloat. The vast majority of trainers do it purely because they love training horses and I’m no exception. 

If you could train any horse in history who would it be and why? 

This is a difficult one as there have been so many superstars over the years. The likes of Frankel, Cigar, Makybe Diva, Deep Impact and Zenyatta to name just a few on the flat. However I’m a jumping man and although I could easily choose Kauto Star, Arkle or Istabraq I’ll go with Desert Orchid. Sure there have been higher rated horses who’ve won more money but this swashbuckling grey with his fantastic jumping really captured the imagination of the racing public at the time, as he did mine when I was just a young lad. 

Do you have a favourite horse in the yard?

No I try to never have a favourite, although some do make more of an impression on you than others from their character or the effort they put into the training and racing. 

What's been the highlight of your career so far? 

I’ve won a couple of races at Cheltenham and there’s just something a bit special about having winners there. I’m still working on that first “big” winner though, but I have a feeling it’s not too far away! 

A typical day in the life of Noel Williams 

Quite honestly there isn’t a typical day for me. Apart from getting up and training the horses in the mornings every day can be really quite varied. That’s one of the things I love about the job. 

If you could win any race before you retired, what would it be? 

The Cheltenham Gold Cup. It’s the pinnacle of jump racing. 

How is Another Crick and any plans for him this season? 

 Another Crick is very well but he won’t be running this season. He picked up a slight leg injury in March and we decided to give him all this winter off. All being well he’ll be back and raring to go next Autumn and I’d like to get him ready for a crack at the BetVictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham in November. 

What do you like to do in your spare time? 

If I’m not racing on a Sunday I try to keep the day as free as possible so in the summer I play Cricket at which I’m more enthusiastic than skilled! In the winter when I tend to be busier I try to enjoy any free Sundays with my wife, and sometimes friends, perhaps enjoying a good lunch. 

Any dark horses for my readers to follow this season? 

Sol Plum Creek could be an interesting runner in a bumper in the early spring. 

A huge thanks to Noel Williams for spending time answering questions for my blog and good luck for the rest of the season.

Visit Noel Williams' Website

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