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Article 11th January 2024 Warwick

By Graham Clark

Lorcan Williams hopes he can continue what has been a whirlwind start to 2024 at Warwick on Saturday (January 13th) by grabbing his big-race opportunity aboard Broken Halo with both hands in the Wigley Group Classic Handicap Chase.


The rugby-loving rider, who was raised in Pembrokeshire, is one of the most in form members of the weighing room at the moment having booted home four winners from his last four mounts.


And the 24-year-old hopes he can continue in that rich vein of form by securing his biggest victory of the campaign aboard the Paul Nicholls-trained gelding, who is one of 14 runners declared for the £100,000 Premier Handicap which is Warwick’s most valuable race of the season. 


Williams said: “I’ve been very lucky to sit on some nice horses recently for both Paul (Nicholls) and Jeremy Scott, who is a big supporter of mine. It has been a good start to the year and hopefully I can continue it.


“Broken Halo is quite a popular character in the yard. He is a very kind horse, and he is easy to get on with. 


“I’ve won a novice hurdle on him and I’ve also won a novice chase on him, while he also gave me my first spin over the Aintree fences in the Grand Sefton in 2022.


“I’ve been very lucky to get on the horse, but I get on well with his owners (Giraffa Racing) as I also won a Grade Two for them aboard McFabulous. They have been great supporters of mine.


“I have been very fortunate with the amount of rides I get, along with a good deal of them being high-quality, but it would be nice to win this race at the weekend.


“I just have to grab opportunities like this with both hands.”

It was a case of what could have been for both Williams and Broken Halo last time out in the Betfair Exchange London National Handicap Chase at Sandown Park with the pair parting company at the second last whilst still holding every chance.


Although it remains to be seen if Broken Halo will see out the three miles and five furlongs trip at the weekend Williams is optimistic that with ground conditions to suit it will be within reach if he can get the Kayf Tara gelding in a good rhythm.


He said: “He was running very well in the London National at Sandown before he fell. Sometimes in his first run of the season he runs very fresh and he can be too enthusiastic.


“During the race I managed to get him settled into a rhythm and I was very happy with him. It was hard to know what would have happened, but I was fairly confident coming to two out that I had not got into top gear with him.


“That was only his second try over a trip just short of what he will be running over here so you don’t know for definite if he will stay but he was travelling well.


“This will be testing ground here, but it was heavy ground when I won a novice chase on him at Exeter so he does prefer a bit of cut in the ground. 


“If I can get him in a nice rhythm early on and ride him like I did before he fell last time, then he should go well.”


Had things turned out differently talk of riding big race winners might have been swapped for conversations regarding spectacular tries with Williams playing rugby to a high level during his younger years.  


While Williams is still passionate about rugby he admits a career in horseracing was alwaysthe route he intended to go down when big decisions needed to be made. 


He added: “Rugby was the other option I had apart from what I’m doing now as I got to a good level when I was younger. 


“When I was at school I was picked for West Wales (rugby league) and I was also picked for Scarlets. I also played for Tenby RFC and I also played for Pembrokeshire. 


“I had more interest though in the pony racing as my love has always been horses as I had grown up around them.  


“When mum and dad sat me down in the living room and gave me the options it was an easy decision to make in the end.


“I still go watch Gloucester, and I went to see Wales play Ireland last year as well as going over to France to see Wales play. I keep track of the rugby even though I’m not involved in it like I used to be.”


While Williams has to play a supporting role behind stable jockey Harry Cobden at 14-time champion Jump trainer Nicholls yard down in Ditcheat it is a position he is more than happy to occupy at one of Jump racing’s most successful operations.


He added: “Just to ride for Paul at first was great let alone have a winner for him. I’m good friends with Harry and any success he has I’m very happy for him. 


“I only see it being a positive being associated with such a yard as it is a big team effort at Ditcheat. 


“You have always got to look forward in the game and that is why I want to try and make the most out of these opportunities.”


Wigley Group Classic Handicap Chase (Premier Handicap) 3m 5f 54y – Declared Runners

1 Malina Girl (IRE) 7 12 0 Mrs J. M. Russell Gavin Cromwell Ireland Conor Stone-Walsh (5)

2 Galia des Liteaux (FR) p 8 11 10 Mr Michael Ariss Dan Skelton Harry Skelton

3 Beauport (IRE) 8 11 9 Bryan & Philippa Burrough Nigel Twiston-Davies Jordan Nailor

4 Fontaine Collonges (FR) 9 11 8 Mr P. Davies Venetia Williams Charlie Deutsch

5 City Chief (IRE) 7 11 8 Mrs J Donnelly Nicky Henderson Robert Dunne

6 Rapper p 10 11 7 The Home Farm Partnership Henry Daly Alice Stevens (5)

7 Guetapan Collonges (FR) 8 11 4 Mr John P. McManus Charlie Longsdon Richie McLernon

8 Major Dundee (IRE) v 9 11 3 Hemmings Racing Alan King Jonathan Burke

9 Broken Halo ts 9 11 1 Giraffa Racing - BH Paul Nicholls Lorcan Williams

10 Credo (IRE) 9 11 1 Potwell Racing Syndicate II Anthony Honeyball Sam Twiston-Davies

11 Percussion ts, p 9 10 13 Mr E. R. Hanbury L J Morgan Harry Reed

12 My Silver Lining (IRE) 8 10 4 Mrs Celia Djivanovic Emma Lavelle James Best

13 Duc de Beauchene (FR) bl,ts 11 10 2 Mr John P. McManus David Pipe Jack Tudor

14 Volcano (FR) ts, p 10 10 2 Mr Brian Davies Sheila Lewis Ben Jones


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